Five Gamecocks Invited to NFL Combine
Five University of South Carolina football players have been invited to the 2023 NFL Combine, it was announced recently. The five Gamecocks are among the 319 prospects to this year’s event, which will take place in Indianapolis from February 28 through March 6.
Brooks, a 6-2, 205-pounder from Harrisburg, N.C., was the Gamecocks’ second-leading receiver during the 2022 campaign. He hauled in 33 passes for 504 yards, an average of 15.3-yards per catch, with one touchdown. During his three-year career in Columbia, Brooks caught 58 passes for 785 yards and two scores. He was one of three players recognized for their community service and was one of three players cited for the Overcoming Adversity Award at the team’s post-season banquet.
Gwyn, a 6-3, 300-pounder from Charlotte, N.C., was named to the SEC Coaches’ second-team All-SEC squad and was a fourth-team All-SEC selection by Phil Steele following the 2022 season. A four-year starter and two-time team captain, Gwyn started in 47-consecutive games for Carolina. He was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, was presented with the Outstanding Student-Athlete Award, the Strength & Conditioning Award and the Most Outstanding Senior Award. He participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Reese’s Senior Bowl following the season.
Pickens, a 6-4, 305-pounder from Anderson, S.C., was a stalwart in the middle of the defensive line. A team captain in 2022, Pickens shared the Most Outstanding Senior Award, was a co-winner of the team’s Joe Morrison Award which goes to the MVP of the defense, and was a co-winner of the Steve Wadiak Team MVP Award in 2022. He registered 42 tackles in his final campaign, including 4.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups and three quarterback hurries. He played in the Reese’s Senior Bowl following the season.
Rush, a 6-2, 200-pounder from Kingstree, S.C., was credited with 38 tackles in 2022, including 2.0 tackles for loss. He accounted for a pair of interceptions along with seven pass breakups and one forced fumble in his final campaign and logged three interceptions and 15 breakups during his last two seasons after moving into the starting lineup. He participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl following the season.
Smith, a 6-0, 188-pounder from Blythewood, S.C., logged 27 tackles including 23 solo stops in 2022. Regarded as a possible first-round draft pick, Smith broke up five passes and intercepted one pass during his final season for the Garnet & Black, and was credited with a blocked kick. He collected six interceptions and 18 pass breakups during his Carolina career.