South Carolina football fans witnessed a lot of bad football this season, but they also witnessed a few special things, as well.
Most notably, the quarterback-wide receiver combination of Spencer Rattler and Xavier Legette had top-5 seasons in the history of the South Carolina football program at their respective positions.
For Legette, he tallied 1255 yards through the 12-game season. That yardage total trails only Alshon Jeffery’s 2010 campaign in Gamecock history, and it was good for the 7th-best total in the country and the 2nd-best mark in the SEC in 2023.
That means that all-time great Gamecock pass-catchers like Sterling Sharpe, Deebo Samuel, Sidney Rice, Kenny McKinley, Robert Brooks, Fred Zeigler, and Pharoh Cooper never had a season quite like Legette’s.
Across the 92-year history of the Southeastern Conference, only 20 receivers have ever had more than 1255 yards (22 seasons as Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews and Alabama’s Devonta Smith both did it twice).
Legette was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, meaning that he was selected as one of the top-10 wide receivers in college football this season. Legette had just 12 fewer yards than last year’s Biletnikoff winner (and Columbia native) Jalin Hyatt and had enough yards that he would have led the SEC in 2015, 2016, or 2017.
Most of these statistics are from players that played 13 or more games, as well. Xavier Legette’s season will be capped at just 12 games as the Gamecocks aren’t bowl-eligible. Of the 22 all-time SEC wide receiver seasons ahead of Legette’s 2023 campaign, 17 of those seasons were accomplished on teams that played 13 or more games. If Legette played 13 games this season and matched his per-game totals in that 13th game, he’d rank 11th all-time.
The breakout season for #17 has done enough to move him from an undrafted or late-drafted player in the 2024 NFL Draft to a potential 1st round pick who is an essential lock to be picked up on the first two days of the draft (rounds 1-3).
If Legette is taken in the 1st round, he will be the third Gamecock wide receiver selected in the NFL Draft’s top round, joining Sterling Sharpe and Troy Williamson. He would be the 21st Carolina receiver ever selected and the 8th since 2012.