South Carolina Football: Every former Gamecock in the 2024 NFL Playoffs

South Carolina football has put a number of players in the 2024 NFL Playoffs.

Former South Carolina football star Deebo Samuel
Former South Carolina football star Deebo Samuel / Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Football Alums in the NFC Playoffs

There are nine former Gamecocks on active rosters in the NFC Playoffs, and seven of them will play in this weekend's NFL Wild Card Round.

. 1. San Francisco 49ers. . . . 42. . .

The San Francisco 49ers are the 1-seed in the NFC Playoffs, winning the three-way tiebreaker with fellow 12-5 teams the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. Because of their top seed, the '9ers will have a Bye in the first round of the postseason, meaning they will not play this weekend. They will play against the lowest-seeded winner from the Wild Card Round in the Divisional Round next weekend. The San Francisco 49ers have two Gamecocks on the roster.


Deebo Samuel is one of the biggest most versatile offensive stars in the NFL and put up over 1200 yards of offense despite missing three games. Since joining the 49ers after being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Samuel has made an All-Pro team (and could be in line for his 2nd Pro Bowl this year when the rosters expand), and this season, he became the all-time record holder for most rushing touchdowns from the wide receiver position. He played in the Super Bowl with the '9ers after the 2019-2020 season and was one of the game's top performers.


Junior college product Javon Kinlaw spent three seasons in Columbia before earning his way to a 1st round selection by the 49ers. Injuries had hampered him for most of his NFL career, but he got healthy down the stretch of the 2023-2024 season. He set new career-bests with 3.5 sacks and 4 more tackles for loss as a part-time starter in San Fran. He will be a very important player this postseason but likely won't start with the return of injured star Arik Armstead.

. 123. . 2. . . Dallas Cowboys. . .

The Dallas Cowboys finished the season tied with the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers at 12-5, but they ended up with the 2-seed in the NFC Playoffs. Dallas has a very balanced team with solid players on both sides of the ball, so they will be a hard matchup at home in the Wild Card Round against the Green Bay Packers at 4:30 EST on Sunday on Fox. The Cowboys have four Gamecocks on their active roster.


One of the best cornerbacks in Gamecock history has become one of the best in NFL history as Stephon Gilmore has left his mark on the game of football over the past 15 years. Likely a Pro Football Hall of Famer after retirement, Gilmore is no longer the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL, but he is still a solid starter on a good defense alongside all-time pick-6 record holder DaRon Bland. He is banged up with a shoulder issue but is expected to play against Green Bay this weekend.


Rico Dowdle has been with the Dallas Cowboys his entire career despite being undrafted back in 2020. He has turned into a really good backup running back with America's Team, logging over 500 yards and 4 touchdowns this season in relief of starter Tony Pollard, even posting better per-carry and per-catch numbers than Pollard. Dowdle will be a major factor for Dallas this postseason.


An out-of-position cornerback with the Gamecocks, Israel Mukuamu has turned into a rotational safety with the Cowboys since being drafted by the team late in the 2020 NFL Draft. His playing time has decreased recently with Big D, so it is unclear how much he might play against the Packers on Sunday.


Jalen Brooks is a great story. Starting off at the D-II level, he transferred to South Carolina and did enough to get drafted in the 7th round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He has not played a ton for the 'Boys as they are among the top teams in the NFL in wide receiver depth, but he has shown enough to stick on the roster. With Dak Prescott lighting the world on fire at quarterback, if Brooks gets in the game, he has a chance to produce for his team this weekend.

. . 51. . . . . Los Angeles Rams. . 6

The Los Angeles Rams are the 6th seed in the NFC Playoffs after winning one of the Wild Card spots. After winning the 2021-2022 Super Bowl, they followed that up with a bad season before rebounding this year with a 10-7 record. They will travel to take on the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card Round on Sunday night for an 8:00 EST kick on NBC and the Peacock app. The Rams have one Gamecock on their roster.


One of the best linebackers in football since being drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, Ernest Jones set a Rams franchise record with 145 tackles this season, even though he missed two games. The NFL's youngest captain is ready to go for this weekend's postseason contest against Detroit, and he will be a difference-maker in the game just like he was in the Rams' Super Bowl win two seasons ago.

49. Green Bay Packers. . . . . 7. . .

The Green Bay Packers were one of the NFL's most surprising teams this year as new starting quarterback Jordan Love had a great year replacing the legendary Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay squeaked their way into the last NFC Playoff spot and will travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 EST on Fox. The Packers have two Gamecocks on their roster.


Keisean Nixon didn't play much as a starter for South Carolina before getting his NFL opportunity due to a logjam in the secondary. He played rotationally for the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, but, now, he is a starter at corner for one of the league's most historic franchises in Green Bay and is among the top return men in football. He has made the last two All-Pro teams and will have a chance to impact Sunday's game more than almost anyone else.


A talent that was pulled all over the place as a Gamecock, Kingsley "JJ" Enagbare has found a nice role for himself with the Green Bay Packers as a part-time starter at EDGE. Playing a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role for the Cheeseheads, Enagbare has become a good NFL player. He will have his first postseason opportunity this weekend against Dallas.

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