As expected, former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called in Thursday night’s NFL Draft. But there were a number of other Gamecocks with dreams of a career in professional football waiting to find a team this weekend.
The draft’s seven rounds spanning from Thursday on through Saturday evening proved frustrating for many South Carolina hopefuls, with only one Gamecock hearing his name called after Clowney’s. Wide receiver Bruce Ellington was the second and final South Carolina player drafted when the San Francisco 49ers selected him in the fourth round with the 106th-overall pick.
Ellington will join Marcus Lattimore in San Francisco as the running back gears up for his first healthy NFL season after sitting out all of last year with a knee injury all too familiar to Gamecock fans.
The good news came for most former South Carolina players after the final name was called in the draft. With undrafted free agency kicking off immediately afterwards, five Gamecocks signed on with NFL teams Saturday night.
On the offensive side, quarterback Connor Shaw will join controversial Texas A&M product Johnny Manziel on the Cleveland Browns and offensive lineman Ronald Patrick will get his first shot at the pros with the Dallas Cowboys.
For the defensive player, tackle Kelcy Quarles signed on with the New York Giants, end Chaz Sutton will join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and cornerback Jimmy Legree will head to Seattle to join the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
To the surprise of many, cornerback Victor Hampton is still waiting for a call from a professional team after deciding to forgo his final year of eligibility at South Carolina and enter the draft.
These signings are no guarantee for the five undrafted Gamecock hopefuls, but they will provide a critical shot to make their mark on the league.