We all knew this day would come, and yet, now that it’s here, it’s hard not to be just a little (or a lot) bummed out. Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore declared for the NFL draft today, forgoing their senior years and effectively ending their careers at the University of South Carolina. Should either or both change their mind, they have about a week and a half to retract their decision, unless an agent has been signed.
Jeffery, who set the school record for 100-yard games at 12 and was voted the MVP of the Capital One Bowl despite being ejected from the game, and is the all-time leading receiver at USC with 3,042 yards, while Gilmore leaves Carolina with 173 sacks, seven tackles, and eight interceptions in his career.
Though he didn’t have the season many expected, there’s no doubt that Jeffery has NFL-caliber talent. In a statement released through the university, Alshon, who is a projected first-round pick, said:
“I would like to thank the fans, my teammates, Coach (Steve) Spurrier and everyone involved for all the opportunities South Carolina has provided me. I am proud to say I will always be a Gamecock.”
He also told ESPN’s Joe Schad:
“I’m ready for the next step. I’m physical and can make plays in the red zone. I can make big plays in big games. I can work on my speed and get quicker. I want to be like Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson.”
Of his decision and talent level, Gilmore had this to say:
“It’s my time to leave. It’s about my family. I can press man. I can play physical. I have good . I will try to do things like Al Harris did in the NFL.”
These guys have left Gamecocks fans with a variety of memorable plays over the past few years. They were key parts of the emergence of success and we owe them quite a bit. Both made a big impact in Monday’s historic 11th win of the season, and you can relive those fantastic plays right now:
Thank you, Alshon and Stephon, for all you did for the Gamecock football program. We’ll miss you in the garnet and black!