South Carolina has had quite a few athletes move on to play their sports at the professional level over the last few years. Here's a little bit about a few of their careers as Gamecocks and in their professional leagues.
Class of 2019
Deebo Samuel - Football
Samuel made his mark on the Gamecock football program and earned several accolades, including two Most Explosive Player on Offense and one first team All-SEC awards. He fought back from several injuries during his college career but made a lasting impact before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft. During his rookie campaign, Samuel helped the 49ers to Super Bowl 54 with 57 receptions for 802 yards and 3 touchdowns throughout the season.
Chris Silva - Men's basketball
In his four years as a Gamecock, Silva scored 1,509 points, 876 rebounds and a free throw percentage of 72.9%. He was named to the first team All-SEC and the SEC all-defensive team after his junior and senior seasons. Silva went undrafted in 2019, but joined the Miami Heat in the NBA Summer League before signing a two-way contract in October, splitting his time with the Heat and its NBA G-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Grace Fisk - Women's soccer
After transferring to South Carolina from Penn State prior to her sophomore year, Fisk earned 17 awards in just three seasons on the Gamecock women's soccer team. She was named to the All-SEC first team after both her sophomore and junior seasons and was the first women's soccer athlete in SEC history to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year three times. After graduating in December 2019, Fisk signed with West Ham United, a team in the Football Association Women's Super League in England. She debuted in her first game in January 2020.
Class of 2018
A'ja Wilson - Women's basketball
After winning countless awards each of her four years in a Gamecock uniform, Wilson led her team to win the 2017 National Championship with 23 points and 10 rebounds. She became the most decorated athlete at South Carolina in any sport after breaking copious women's basketball program and conference records. Wilson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 WNBA draft and joined the Las Vegas Aces, where she has already scored 1,112 points in her two seasons.
Class of 2017
Savannah McCaskill - Women's soccer
McCaskill broke numerous records in her time as a Gamecock and is credited with the most program single-season points, goals, game-winning goals, shots and shots on goal in 2016. She became the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 College Draft and was initially selected by the Boston Breakers, a team in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). The team folded in January 2018 and McCaskill was drafted in the dispersal draft as the second overall pick to Sky Blue FC. In 2018, she was a finalist for the NWSL Rookie of the Year award. McCaskill was traded in 2019 and currently plays with the Chicago Red Stars.
Hayden Hurst - Football
In three seasons with the Gamecocks, Hurst had 100 receptions for 1,281 receiving yards at the tight end position. During his sophomore season, he set a single-season program record for most catches by a tight end with 48. After forgoing his senior year at South Carolina, Hurst was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Between 2018 and 2019, he caught 43 passes for 512 receiving yards. He will be playing with the Atlanta Falcons next season, as he was traded in March.
Sindarius Thornwell - Men's basketball
Thornwell was a standout on the 2017 South Carolina men's basketball team who made it to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament. He ended his college career first in games started, with 132, and third in points, with 1,941, before being drafted in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the first Gamecock to be drafted since 2006. He now plays for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the the NBA's G-League.
Alaina Coates - Women's basketball
Coates was a member of the 2017 National Champion South Carolina women's basketball team as a senior. She broke multiple SEC records and was recognized on the All-SEC first team, SEC all-defensive team and SEC all-tournament team throughout her college career. She was selected by the Chicago Sky as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft but is now a member of the Atlanta Dream.