South Carolina Gamecocks' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

Written by:
February 24, 2022
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South Carolina Gamecocks' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

While most colleges and universities field a football team as part of its general athletics program, there are some for which football is more than merely a sport—it’s akin almost to a religion. Devotion to the team and its colors is as important to that school’s culture as a religious icon is to a believer. These programs actively scout and recruit notable high school players, and are in turn rigorously applied to by matriculating seniors eager to make a name for themselves at the collegiate level.

Among the most notable college football empires are Notre Dame, the universities of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State—the list goes on and on.

But for every touchstone football school, there is an outlier that has produced some of the most successful and cherished players in the game. Think Jackson State, which gave us “Sweetness” himself, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Or Mississippi Valley State, which yielded 3-time Super Bowl champion and #1 Player in NFL History, as voted by the NFL Network, ‘49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Each year, the college draft serves as a source of renewal to professional football and a testament to the quality of college programs nationwide. With the 2022 NFL draft set to take place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks from the South Carolina Gamecocks using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Alshon Jeffery (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #45 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (1 Pro Bowls)

#19. Sidney Rice (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #44 overall in 2007
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (1 Pro Bowls)

#18. Harold Green (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #38 overall in 1990
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (1 Pro Bowls)

#17. Deebo Samuel (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #36 overall in 2019
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (1 Pro Bowls)

#16. Kalimba Edwards (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 2, #35 overall in 2002
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#15. Hayden Hurst (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #25 overall in 2018
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#14. Rick Sanford (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #25 overall in 1979
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Johnathan Joseph (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 2006
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 15 (2 Pro Bowls)

#12. Melvin Ingram (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #18 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: San Diego Chargers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (3 Pro Bowls)

#11. Ernest Dye (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #18 overall in 1993
- Drafted by: Phoenix Cardinals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Willie Scott (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #14 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Javon Kinlaw (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #14 overall in 2020
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#8. John Abraham (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 2000
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (5 Pro Bowls)

#7. Dunta Robinson (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #10 overall in 2004
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (0 Pro Bowls)

#6. Stephon Gilmore (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #10 overall in 2012
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (4 Pro Bowls)

#5. Jaycee Horn (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 2021
- Drafted by: Carolina Panthers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#4. Sterling Sharpe (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 1988
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (5 Pro Bowls)

#3. Troy Williamson (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 2005
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. George Rogers (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1981
- Drafted by: New Orleans Saints
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (2 Pro Bowls)

#1. Jadeveon Clowney (DE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 7 (3 Pro Bowls)

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