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Andy Wittry | | January 29, 2023

Deebo Samuel's South Carolina career: College football stats, highlights, records

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In his breakout third season in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel helped them go on a playoff run while doing almost everything there is to do on offense. Samuel finished fifth in the league in receiving yards (1,405 yards), while leading the league in yards per catch (18.2) and setting the NFL record for the most rushing touchdowns in a season by a wide receiver with eight.

In total, he amassed 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns in the regular season. Heck, he even threw a 24-yard touchdown pass. He followed that up with 632 receiving yards, 232 rushing yards and five total touchdowns in his 13-game 2022 campaign.

Samuel is truly a unique talent in the NFL, playing in an offense that allows him to be dangerous as both a receiver and runner.

Here's everything you need to know about Deebo Samuel's college career.

The vitals on Deebo Samuel

Schools: South Carolina
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-0
Weight: 215 pounds
Years active: 2015-18

Here are Deebo Samuel's career receiving and rushing stats in college. You may need to scroll to the right to view the complete stats.

Year games Rec. Rec. Yards YPC Rec. TD Rush Att. Rush Yards Rush TD
2015 5 12 161 13.4 1 0 0 0
2016 10 59 783 13.3 1 15 98 6
2017 3 15 250 16.7 3 2 30 1
2018 12 62 882 14.2 11 8 26 0
Career 30 148 2,076 14.0 16 25 154 7

Where did Deebo Samuel go to college?

Deebo Samuel attended the University of South Carolina, which he chose over reported scholarship offers from Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Vanderbilt, among other schools. He redshirted as a freshman in the 2014 season.

What kind of prospect was Deebo Samuel in high school?

In the 247Sports Composite rankings, which is an aggregate ranking system of numerous outlets, Samuel was a three-star recruit ranked as the No. 838 recruit in the 2014 recruiting class. However, 247Sports' individual rankings labeled him a four-star recruit and the No. 238 prospect nationally.

What was Deebo Samuel's record in college?

In the 30 games in which Samuel recorded statistics, South Carolina compiled a 15-15 record. In the 12 games he played in as a senior, the Gamecocks went 7-5.

Records set by Deebo Samuel

Here are some of the notable records and statistical rankings set by Samuel in college:

  • 1st in South Carolina history in career kick returns for a touchdown: Four touchdowns
  • 1st in South Carolina history in career kick return average: 29.0 yards per return
  • T-1st in South Carolina history in receptions in a game: 14 receptions (vs. South Florida, 2016)
  • T-1st in South Carolina history in consecutive 100-yard receiving games: Three games (2018)
  • T-2nd, t-9th in South Carolina history in receiving yards in a game: 210 yards (at Clemson, 2018); 190 yards (vs. South Florida, 2016)
  • T-2nd in South Carolina history in receiving touchdowns in a season: 11 touchdowns (2018)
  • T-4th in South Carolina history in career touchdowns: 28 touchdowns
  • 7th-longest reception in South Carolina history: 89 yards (against Florida, 2018)
  • 8th in South Carolina history in career all-purpose yards: 3,457 yards
  • 9th in South Carolina history in career receptions: 148 receptions
  • 10th in South Carolina history in receiving yards in a season: 882 yards (2018)
  • T-10th in South Carolina history in receptions in a season: 62 receptions (2018)
  • T-10th in South Carolina history in career receiving touchdowns: 16 touchdowns
  • 11th in South Carolina history in career receiving yards: 2,076 yards
  • 17th in NCAA history in career kick return average (min. 1.2 returns per game, 30 returns in career): 29.02 yards per return

What were some of Deebo Samuel's best games in college?

Here are some of Samuel's most notable performances in college:

Clemson 37, South Carolina 32 | Nov. 28, 2015

Hosting No. 1 Clemson, the eventual national runner-up, in its regular-season finale, South Carolina pushed Clemson, turning a 21-3 deficit in the second quarter to a 28-25 game in favor of Clemson early in the fourth quarter. Samuel caught a seven-yard touchdown pass that cut the Tigers' lead to 21-10 and he finished the game with five catches for 104 yards and a score against the then-No. 1 team in the country, showing his potential for the future.

South Carolina 44, Western Carolina 31 | Nov. 19, 2016

Samuel's receiving stats against Western Carolina during his sophomore season were just four catches for 56 yards, so what gives? Well, as Samuel has gone on to show early in his NFL career, yes, he's a wide receiver, but there's so much more to his game. He had five carries for 27 yards and two rushing touchdowns, setting college career-highs in both rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns in a season. With five carries and four receptions in the game, he had more touches as a rusher than receiver. Oh, and he also had five kick returns for 194 yards — a 38.8-yard average — including a 100-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. He had all three touchdowns by halftime, showing that it doesn't necessarily matter how you get Samuel the ball, just get it to him somehow.

South Florida 46, South Carolina 39 | Dec. 29, 2016

One of Samuel's two or three best games in college came in his first bowl game, when South Carolina played South Florida in the 2016 Birmingham Bowl. His final stat line? Fourteen receptions — which tied a school record — for 190 yards — which is tied for ninth in school history — and he had both a receiving and rushing touchdown, which showed a glimpse of his potential as a runner. It was his sixth rushing touchdown of the season, an already impressive total he would surpass five seasons later with the San Francisco 49ers.

South Carolina 35, NC State 28 | Sept. 2, 2017

Samuel and South Carolina opened their 2017 campaign with a bang, beating NC State on a neutral field in Charlotte, where Samuel returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and hauled in five passes for 83 yards and two scores. On seven total touches — receptions, rush attempts and kick returns — Samuel scored three touchdowns.

Clemson 56, South Carolina 35 | Nov. 24, 2018

There was something about Samuel playing against South Carolina's in-state rival Clemson. While the Tigers held Samuel to just four receptions for 14 yards when they played the Gamecocks in 2016, in three career games against Clemson, the former South Carolina wide receiver had 19 total receptions for 328 yards and four touchdowns. The bulk of that production came during rivalry week in 2018, when Samuel went off for 10 receptions for 210 yards and three scores. His 210 receiving yards were tied for the second-most in school history. Clemson was ranked No. 2 in the country and they went on to become undefeated national champions.

What awards did Deebo Samuel win in college?

Here are the awards and honors Samuel received in college:

  • 2018 first-team All-American
  • 2018 first-team All-SEC

What did people say about Deebo Samuel?

The Herald's (Rock Hill, SC) Ben Breiner, after Samuel had his first 100-yard receiving game in the final game of his redshirt freshman season against Clemson: "All season, South Carolina has looked for a target to complement (Pharoh) Cooper and Saturday, Deebo Samuel showed perhaps he could have fulfilled the role if circumstances had been different. The redshirt freshman caught five passes for 104 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown pass and a 48-yard catch-and-run. This season was a missed opportunity for the former four-star prospect. Injuries, especially a nagging hamstring, limited Samuel to only five games. Saturday's output alone more than doubled his season total, and he could only wonder what might have been."

Missouri coach Barry Odom, after Samuel had nine catches for 125 yards in a win (from The Times and Democrat): "He muscled us around a little bit."

The Post and Courier, after South Carolina beat Missouri: "As important as freshman quarterback Jake Bentley has been over the past three weeks during the Gamecocks three-game winning streak, the return of wide receiver Deebo Samuel might be just as crucial to the Gamecocks offense. Samuel has given the Gamecocks a big-play threat in the passing game that they didn't have in the first six games of the season. Samuel, who missed three games with a pulled hamstring, turned in career highs for receptions with nine and receiving yards with 125. The chemistry between Bentley and Samuel is undeniable. It wasn't like Samuel was running around the secondary wide open either. He made several receptions in heavy traffic with Missouri defenders in tight coverage."

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, on how long it took him to realize Samuel could be a rushing threat in the red zone (from the AP): "After about the third day of spring practice."

The Times and Democrat's Scott Hood, prior to the 2016 Birmingham Bowl: "Wide receiver Deebo Samuel demonstrated in the second half of the regular season that when he is healthy, few receivers in the SEC are better. Over the last seven contests, he has hauled in 41 passes for 527 yards, logging 8+ receptions three times and 100+ receiving yards twice."

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, after Samuel scored three total touchdowns against NC State in 2017 (from the AP): "He probably won't say it, but I don't think anyone in the country can guard him."

The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell, after Samuel scored three touchdowns against NC State: "Remember the name Deebo Samuel. He's a junior wide receiver for South Carolina. He's been limited somewhat by hamstring and other injuries. Saturday demonstrated he could be a big-time NFL prospect. Samuel, raised in Inman, S.C., returned the game's opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. He caught two more touchdowns in the first three quarters. If he stays healthy, there's no question he's going to be a pro. He lacks ideal height for a wide receiver at 6-foot, but he makes up for that with speed, muscle and body control."

Bentley, after Samuel suffered a season-ending leg injury against Kentucky in 2017 (from the AP): "He's an outstanding teammate and an outstanding friend. He'll be hard to replace."

The Associated Press, on Samuel's first game back from injury against Coastal Carolina: "South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel pulled in a one-handed catch in the end zone on what looked to be an overthrown ball, bringing cheers from the crowd. The fifth-year senior, who scored six touchdowns in 11 quarters last season before breaking his leg, had waited through a long frustrating summer to get back on the field."

Bentley, after Samuel caught a touchdown in his first game back from injury in 2018 (from the AP): "The challenges that he's been through have really turned him into an outstanding teammate, and outstanding friend, that just enjoys being out there with the guys."

Bentley, after South Carolina defeated Chattanooga to become bowl-eligible (from the AP): "I told him in winning this game, we'd have a little bit more time together."

Deebo Samuel quotes

Samuel, after scoring a career-high two rushing touchdowns against Western Carolina in 2016 (from the AP): "That jet sweep has been money for us. I had three pulling blockers, a lineman, a running back and a receiver out there. Most of the time they're outnumbered, and I just hit the gap."

Samuel, after returning a kickoff 100 yards against Western Carolina (from The State): "Everybody has an assignment. When everybody does their assignment, you see a big old hole and it opened up and I hit it."

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