Deebo Samuel enters Death Valley // Photo by Austin Silvey

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Deebo Samuel was named to the All-America squad, while Zack Bailey and T.J. Brunson joined Samuel on the All-SEC teams as selected by Phil Steele, it was announced today. Samuel, a six-foot, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., earned a spot on Steele’s second-team All-America squad as a kick returner. Samuel was also named first-team All-SEC at both wide receiver and kick returner by the national publication. He led the Gamecocks with 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns, returned 23 kickoffs for 570 yards, a 24.8-yard average, and averaged 123.2 all-purpose yards per game while scoring 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 named second-team All-SEC by Steele. The 6-6, 314-pound left guard from Summerville, S.C., started all 12 games during the season and 38 in his career, most on the squad. He 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. 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. He was named one of four permanent team captains following the season. Brunson, a 6-1, 240-pound junior linebacker from Columbia’s Richland Northeast High School, was also named to the second-team All-SEC squad by Steele. Brunson led the team and ranked ninth in the SEC with a career-high 94 tackles, an average of 7.8 per game. He also led the squad with 10.5 tackles for loss and was second with 4.0 sacks. Brunson, who was named one of four permanent team captains following the season, shared the Joe Morrison Award as the MVP on defense with Javon Kinlaw, was one of three to earn the Unselfish Teammate Award, garnered the Leadership Award, and shared the Most Productive Player Award for the defense with Jaycee Horn. The Gamecocks (7-5) will be back in action on Saturday, Dec. 29, when they travel to Charlotte for a noon kick with the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5) in the Belk Bowl. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.

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