Georgia has a dynamic challenge to face Saturday. Whether it be pass-catching, in the running game or on the special teams’ units, South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel can contribute, and impress, in each area.
“He’s probably the most underrated player in college football,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “You see what he’s already done in this game, in one game how explosive he’s been at whether it’s running back, receiver. And they’re creative in ways in finding getting him the ball.”
Samuel, returning from a 2017 season-ending broken foot injury, is part of an weapons-laden offensive lineup for the Gamecocks. He is supplemented by quarterback Jake Bentley and wide receiver Bryan Edwards, but Samuel has proven to be the centerpiece. Prior to his injury, Samuel erupted in 2017 and was one of the most talked about players in college football.
Through three games last season, he collected 280 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns. He may have lost some national spotlight after suffering the injury, but not to those around the SEC and certainly not to his head coach Will Muschamp.
Entering the season, Samuel was named preseason first-team All-SEC, along with Mississippi wide receiver A.J. Brown.
“I have seen a lot of Deebo and he’s one of their marquee players they like to highlight,” Georgia safety J.R. Reed said. “He’s very fast. He’s definitely going to get the ball in this game. We have to rise up and tackle him.”
Added Smart: “He’s an electric football player that’s extremely powerful, confident, hard to tackle and he’ll be a key guy for us. You gotta get him on the ground when he gets the ball, because you’ll never know when it’s going to him.”
Georgia didn’t see Samuel in its last encounter with South Carolina, a 24-10 victory by the Bulldogs. But in the last encounter at Williams-Brice Stadium, Samuel gave Georgia “fits,” according to Smart, with 90 receiving yards on four receptions.