From staff reports/Photo by Jenny Dilworth
A trio of South Carolina players were named to the 2018 SEC postseason All-SEC squads as selected by the league’s 14 coaches, it was announced today. Deebo Samuel earned first team honors as both an all-purpose performer and return specialist and was a second-team selection at wide receiver. Offensive lineman Zack Bailey and punter Joseph Charlton joined Samuel on the second-team unit.
Samuel, a 6-0, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., led the Gamecocks with 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. He rushed eight times for 26 yards and returned 23 kickoffs for 570 yards, a 24.8-yard average. He also completed one pass attempt for a 13-yard touchdown. Samuel averaged 123.2 all-purpose yards per game and scored 13 touchdowns overall. He ranked tied for fifth in the SEC with 5.2 receptions, seventh with 73.5 receiving yards, fourth in kick return average and second in all-purpose yards per game.
Bailey was a key figure in helping the Gamecock offense average 32.6 points and 440.2 yards of total offense per game, both high marks since 2013. The 6-6, 314-pounder from Summerville, S.C., started all 12 games during the season and 38 in his career, most on the squad. Carolina had back-to-back games in which it logged 600 yards of offense for the first time in school history, and set a school record with five games of 500 yards of offense.
Charlton, a 6-5, 188-pound junior from Columbia, set the school record with a 44.8-yard punting average for a single season, and is the career leader in punting average at 44.0-yards per kick. Of his 43 punts, 24 were fair catches, 16 were inside the 20 and 13 traveled 50 yards or more, with a long of 66. The Gamecocks ranked 12th in the country in net punting with a mark of 40.95 yards.
The Gamecocks (7-5) will face the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5) out of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the 2018 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Dec. 29. Game time is set for noon and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.