Inman’s Deebo Samuel ready to make an impact for USC at wide receiver

first_imgUSC wide receiver Deebo Samuel (1) is ready to make an impact this season.USC wide receiver Deebo Samuel (1) is ready to make an impact this season.COLUMBIA – Deebo Samuel did not catch the eye of major college programs until mid-way during his senior season at Chapman High School.After choosing to sign with South Carolina, the Gamecock coaching staff opted to redshirt Samuel during his initial season at the school.The move had nothing to do with the talent of the Inman native. With several veteran receivers returning, wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. decided there was no reason to play the 6-0, 202-pounder in a year his playing time may be limited.That changes this season, however, as Samuel not only gets an opportunity to play but appears set to start opposite junior all-star Pharoh Cooper.“It’s really exciting,” said Samuel. “Last year I redshirted. I thought I was going to come in and play, but I had to change my mindset and get ready for this year.”With only two wide receivers on the roster (Cooper and Shamier Jeffery) who have caught a pass in a collegiate game, the Gamecocks are counting on Samuel to play a big role on the team.“He will be one of the guys,” Spurrier Jr. said of Samuel. “He had a good spring game and made a bunch of plays. He played just about the entire spring game. He didn’t come out.”“He finished up and played a bunch of snaps, which I was happy to see. He wasn’t one of those guys who didn’t need to play. He knows he needs as many snaps as he can get.”Samuel has caught the eye of Steve Spurrier as well as he likened him to former USC and current San Francisco wide receiver Bruce Ellington.Spurrier Jr. agrees with the father.“He’s strong, quick, physical,” Spurrier Jr said following spring practice. “He’s got some Bruce Ellington characteristics, he really does. He catches the ball well. Toward the end of last year, he really did a lot of good things. I think he’s got a chance to be a really good player.”Cooper is also confident Samuel has what it takes to potentially take some of the pressure off him if teams opt to give the junior enhanced attention.“Deebo has some big play potential,” said Cooper. “Y’all know that. He’s a big, physical guy who can catch the ball. He’s fast.”As the Gamecocks prepare for a Saturday scrimmage inside Williams-Brice Stadium, Samuel is working hard to improve in several areas so he’ll be prepared to handle the responsibilities that appear to be coming his way.“We just put in a new formation to get me in the slot some, but I’m really at X because I’m still learning all the plays there,” said Samuel. “They’ve also moved me to kick returner a little bit.”While Samuel appears to have a starting slot locked up, he isn’t taking anything for granted.“We’re just trying to get better, get ready for the first game,” said Samuel. “All of (the freshmen and redshirt freshmen receivers) are younger so we’re still learning. We’re trying to beat out each other to get a starting spot.”last_img