The University of South Carolina was founded in 1801 as the South Carolina College to unite the locals in the aftermath of the American Revolution. Their football program got its start nearly 100 years later in 1892, and although it was a very slow start (they only played a handful of games for the first several years and went without a coach for their first three seasons), they picked up steam at the turn of the century.
The Gamecocks football program brought home the 1969 ACC Championship and the 2010 SEC East Championship, and won an impressive handful of bowl games, including three Outback Bowls (2001, 2002, and 2013), the 2006 Liberty bowl, two Capital One Bowls (2012 and 2014) and the Duck Commander Independence Bowl (also in 2014). They recently enjoyed back-to-back-to-back 11-win seasons under coach Steve Spurrier (2011 to 2013) and are looking for a good season in 2017.
There have been many former Gamecocks who have appeared in the NFL, including the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, who was drafted No. 1 overall in 1981 by the New Orleans Saints. Rogers went on to win the Big Game with the Washington Redskins in 1988 and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice.
Let’s take a look to see what former Gamecocks are currently playing in the NFL.
The Houston Texans currently have the most former South Carolina players on their roster, including Jadeveon Clowney, Bruce Ellington, and Johnathan Joseph. The Carolina Panthers have two: Captain Munnerlyn and Damiere Byrd. And the Bills do as well: Patrick DiMarco is on the active roster, while Marquavius Lewis is on the practice squad.
Several other teams feature former Gamecocks. Melvin Ingram, for example, is on the Los Angeles Chargers, and Pharoh Cooper is on the Rams. A.J. Cann plays for the Jags, and Stephon Gilmore takes the field for the Patriots.
Former Gamecocks in the NFL range in age as well, with the youngest born in 1995 and the oldest making their world debut in 1984.
Let’s focus on a few standout South Carolina players. Jadeveon Clowney entered the NFL when he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2014 draft by the Houston Texans, where he still plays for their defense today. Clowney had a stellar high school career and his large size and speed certainly fared him well at South Carolina. He received quite a few accolades in college, including the 2012 Consensus All-America and the Ted Hendricks Award, and there was plenty of pre-draft hype, with experts agreeing that he was something special.
Since entering the NFL, Clowney has been selected to go to one Pro Bowl (so far) in 2016, and while he’s been plagued with a bit of an injury bug, he’s still an important part of the Texans defense (and he even rumbled a Tom Brady interception back for a score earlier in the 2017 season).
Another former Gamecock, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was drafted in 2012 10th overall by the Buffalo Bills, where he played for five seasons before heading to the New England Patriots. Gilmore was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and has nabbed 15 interceptions over his career so far.
Wideout Pharoh Cooper, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, is another former Gamecock the school should be proud of, especially when he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in mid-October 2017.
Go Cocks Go!
So you’re a South Carolina fan, or you really enjoy watching former Gamecocks make huge plays for your favorite NFL teams? Well, you’re in luck. Not only does Fanatics carry a huge assortment of Gamecocks gear, but they also have plenty of authentic NFL swag so that you can take in the games in style.
- http://www.gamecocksonline.com/trads/scar-history.html#Major Team Championships