COLUMBIA -- It didn’t take long for Deebo Samuel to start talking about next year.
Less than two days after announcing he’ll return to South Carolina for his senior season, he’s already talking to his quarterback about meeting up this summer to practice and run routes.
“Me and him had been talking about it for a while,” Jake Bentley said about Samuel coming back. “We had just been talking about it. He knew how I felt. I wanted him back. I kind of had a feeling, but it’s good for us to have him back.”
Samuel’s return puts South Carolina in a pretty solid place offensively heading into what will be Will Muschamp’s third year in Columbia.
Bryson Allen-Williams, who’s out this season with a shoulder injury, already announced he’s returning next season and the Gamecocks will also return Rico Dowdle and K.C. Crosby, both of whom are out with fractured fibula.
With all four of those guys returning next season, that’s a combined 50 starts being inserted back into the lineup.
“I think it says a lot about our program to have a guy like Bryson Allen-Williams and Deebo Samuel and guys that are excited about coming back to South Carolina,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “They see what we're building, they see what's happening; they see the support that we have and they want to be Gamecocks and that's exciting.”
All four players have been out at least two weeks with Allen-Williams and Samuel missing the last six games with season-ending ailments.
Dowdle and Crosby could potentially come back for a postseason game, Muschamp said, but there’s no certainty there. But, regardless of a return this season, they’ll all get to see the field in 2018.
“Those are the guys that are going to lead our team—Bryson, Deebo, Rico, K.C. — just by how hard they work,” Bentley said. “I think guys see that and they’re fully committed. They’re going to be big for us.”