South Carolina football: My wish for Deebo Samuel
Welcome back, college football sure missed you most of last season.
Sure, the numbers were great before your broken leg against Kentucky, and we remember how you played your way into the early Heisman Trophy discussion in the first month. From the opening kickoff, nobody was more electric.
We also remember your style and personality, and of course your name. We know you always walk in a room with great body language, with a smile and light on your feet. No one remembers Tyshun, your given name, they remember Deebo. And what unique name doesn’t come with a good story? Of course, the most knowledgeable Gamecocks fans know Deebo comes from the neighborhood bully character in the movie “Friday.” While we’re at it, you have no shortage of nicknames. Remember your stepmom calling you “Sweet Feet” while playing for Chapman High School?
College football needs your production, it needs your name, and of course, it needs your style. You reintroduced yourself to the SEC in a big way earlier this summer in Atlanta with a floral suit, white shoes, black pants and black bow tie. None other than Deion Sanders, not exactly a fashion wallflower, put that kind of style this way:
U look good u feel good,u feel good u play good,u play good they pay good,they pay good u live good,u live good u thank God 4 it all! TRUTH
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) January 29, 2012
All signs point to you picking up where you left off early last season. Your coach, Will Muschamp, certainly feels that way.
“Absolutely, that’s what I’m expecting,” Muschamp said at SEC Media Days. “Last year, he was probably as electric and explosive player as there was in college football. That’s certainly our expectation.”
There might have been no more exciting time than the opening kickoff of last season when you went 97 yards for a touchdown to stun N.C. State. That was fun, wasn’t it? How about the catch at the goal line from Jake Bentley, and later that one-handed grab on the run. Sure, it’ll be difficult to replicate that performance, but college football is waiting on that kind of return. Because fans saw you do it against Missouri and once more against Kentucky, enough to fill up seven minutes of a highlight video. “One play, one score” was your motto in 2017.
Sure, there have been lingering hamstring problems in your career, but most South Carolina faithful know you’ve overcome far more than injuries. You remember following in your brother Quan’s footsteps, and watching him be sentenced to a year in jail for attempted burglary. Quan went back to prison a year later. Your dad has said don’t let that get in the way of your goals and dreams. You’ve even said “tomorrow ain’t promised” and have set out to learn from your brother’s mistakes. And make the most of your opportunities, be it as a receiver, runner or kick returner.
Remember when you burst on the stage as a redshirt freshman in 2015 against Clemson with five catches for 104 yards and your first career touchdown, a one-handed 7-yard catch? That built a lot of equity with the garnet and black faithful.
It’s been a memorable career, despite the bumps along the way, you’ve made 86 catches for 1,194 yards and 5 touchdowns. You’ve rushed just 17 times, but for 128 yards and 7 touchdowns. We can’t forget the 19 kick returns for 649 yards and 3 touchdowns, which is a school record. That’s why there was no surprise to see your name on the first-team All-SEC preseason squad. And there you were again as a first-team returner and specialist. Make no mistake, if teams are going to beat South Carolina, they must figure out a way to limit what you do best.
You didn’t come this far for your career to be remembered by hamstring problems and a broken leg. Now get out there and give us one more season of highlights around the field. You’ve proclaimed yourself 100 percent healthy in returning from the broken leg, and working with trainers, the hamstring issues appear solved.
Everyone believes you’re capable of anything, most importantly yourself. Tomorrow ain’t promised, sure, but as we lift the curtain on another season, tomorrow is today.
Have a great year.