From the gridiron to the grassy turf, three different Gamecocks earned weekly awards from the Southeastern Conference on Monday.
Name: Deebo Samuel
Position: Wide receiver
Award: SEC Special Teams Player of the Week
Performance: For the second straight week, Samuel was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. It was the third kickoff return touchdown of his career, setting a school record. On the next drive, Samuel rushed 25 yards for a touchdown, giving the Gamecocks their first lead of the game. The 6-foot, 215-pound receiver has five touchdowns over two games and has caused a buzz among national analysts regarding early Heisman Trophy talk.
Quotable: “He just picks us up. When we’re struggling on offense … he’s that guy. He wants to make a big play. He wants the ball in his hands. He’s just an incredible, incredible guy to have on your team.” — quarterback Jake Bentley on Samuel
Name: Elexa Bahr
Sport: Women’s soccer
Award: SEC Offensive Player of the Week
Performance: Bahr received her first SEC weekly award Monday after scoring the game-winning goal against in-state rival Clemson on Friday. The goal came in the 17th minute on an assist from senior striker Savannah McCaskill, who crossed the ball to Bahr and earned her 100th career point on the assist. Bahr leads the team with four goals this season and has a team-leading two game-winners. Her goal not only handed Clemson its first loss of the season but also earned the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead in the Palmetto Series.
Quotable: “Obviously, Lex has made some big difference for us the first part of the season and so we’re looking for her to continue.” — head coach Shelley Smith
Name: Mikayla Krzeczowski
Sport: Women’s soccer
Award: SEC Defensive Player of the Week
Performance: Krzeczowski recorded her fourth shutout of the season in the women’s soccer team’s win over Clemson on Friday. This is her second straight week receiving the SEC Defensive Player of the Week award. Krzeczowski is 6-1-0 overall this season, with half of her shutouts coming on the road, including her latest at Riggs Field, the home of the Clemson Tigers. No stranger to shutouts, Krzeczowski led the SEC and ranked ninth in the nation with 11 in 2016, per GamecocksOnline. The sophomore keeper entered the season ranked fifth in program history with 11 career shutouts and is likely to keep moving up the ranks this season.
Quotable: “We knew coming in it would be a battle. It always is against a rival. Obviously, really proud of these girls. They battled, they played, they found a way to win tonight and it was an excellent result on an away game.” — Smith on the tough competition Krzeczowski and the team faced in Clemson.
All three Gamecocks will be back in action this weekend. The women’s soccer team opens SEC play against Alabama at 7 p.m. on Friday at Stone Stadium, while Samuel and the South Carolina football team will face Kentucky in their home opener at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.