The NFL Draft is over again with South Carolina seeing five of its alumni getting drafted while numerous others earned free-agent deals.
It’s the latest in a few productive drafts for South Carolina and next year could be so again. With the 2024 draft on deck, here is a look at a few Gamecocks who could hear names called.
One of the more obvious ones, Rattler chose to come back after an inconsistent first 10 games that ended with a bang in the final three.
Rattler showed flashes early in the season with a few big wins but was elite the final three games, including wins over Tennessee and Clemson.
In that stretch, Rattler completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 1,044 yards with 10 touchdowns to three picks. He comes back to school to learn from first-year offensive coordinator Dowell Loggans in what’s been talked about as a streamlined pro-style system.
If Rattler has a good season in 2023 he should hear his name called in the 2024 draft.
Like Rattler, Wells was playing his best ball of the season to end the year. He chose to come back for at least one more run at South Carolina. Wells, an All-SEC receiver last season, caught 26 passes over the final four regular season games for 434 yards. Three of those were 100-yard performances.
He caught four touchdowns in the process. Wells now comes back as one of the focal points of this revamped Gamecocks’ offense. He’s got a chance to put up another big season in the SEC.
If he does what he did last year, if not better–68 catches, 928 yards, six touchdowns–he could easily be a top two or three round pick.
If Strachan stayed healthy last year he would have more than likely been drafted this past year. But an ACL injury sidelined him for the final 11 games of the year.
He was productive so far at South Carolina. The EDGE put up 15 tackles as a reserve with 12 pressures and eight hurries in 2021. Last season before injury he had five tackles and two pressures in just 94 total snaps.
He’s going to be the anchor of the Gamecocks’ edge presence this season, and if he can add on to his production in 2023 then he should get his name written on a card next draft.
Knox is the only newcomer on this list. But he has a chance to turn into an NFL player in his year with the Gamecocks. After shifting to tight end and putting up 26 catches and 296 yards last season at Arkansas, Knox makes the move to South Carolina.
He follows position coach Dowell Loggains, who will try and dial-up and least the same number of touchdowns (5) for him this season. Knox is going to have ample opportunity in this offense in the middle of the field and in the red zone to put up some numbers.
If he does, the Gamecocks could have another tight end go in the draft.
The Gamecocks are no stranger to defensive backs in the NFL and Dial could certainly be the next one. He chose to use his extra COVID year and return to be the No. 1 starter on this team.
Last season, with teams shying away from Cam Smith and Darius Rush, Dial was targeted 66 times in 363 coverage snaps. He gave up just 32 catches for 428 yards with three touchdowns allowed.
Dial picked off three passes with 12 pass breakups and quarterbacks had just a 65.7 NFL rating when going at him. If he can do that again as the team’s best cornerback, he should hear his name called.
Hemingway is coming off a breakout 2021 where he had 22 tackles and 24 quarterback pressures last season. He continuously found his way around the ball and was a high-level player up front for the Gamecocks.
He’ll take over as the key cog in the middle for a South Carolina line losing Zacch Pickens. If he does that again, it’s not far-fetched to think Hemingway could be a top 100 pick.
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