South Carolina Football: Gamecock Xavier Legette picked in 1st round of NFL Draft

South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette was selected in the 1st round of the NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette
South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football fans watched five former Gamecocks get picked in the 2023 NFL Draft as Cam Smith (2nd round to the Miami Dolphins), Zacch Pickens (3rd round to the Chicago Bears), Darius Rush (5th round to the Indianapolis Colts), Jovaughn Gwyn (7th round to the Atlanta Falcons), and Jalen Brooks (7th round to the Dallas Cowboys) fulfilled their dreams of becoming NFL players.

This year, the Gamecocks again have multiple players vying to become NFL Draft selections. Wide receiver Xavier Legette was viewed by most to be the first Gamecock off the board ahead of the draft, and in the 1st round, he proved those predictions correct when he was taken by the Carolina Panthers with the 32nd pick.

The Buffalo Bills traded for the pick from the Kansas City Chiefs but then dealt the pick to the Panthers who used it to pick a big-time target for 2nd-year quarterback Bryce Young.

With the Panthers, Legette provides quarterback Josh Allen with a legitimate weapon at receiver who can attack defenses in a multitude of ways. With a lot of questions in the passing game for Carolina, there is a very real scenario in which Legette becomes the most dangerous wide receiver target for the NFL team closest to his home.

Legette will join fellow South Carolina football stars Jadeveon Clowney, DJ Wonnum, and Jaycee Horn with the Panthers.

Legette did not burst onto the scene until his redshirt senior season at the University of South Carolina. During his first four years in college, he struggled with injuries and some mental health difficulties, but utilizing his "Covid redshirt" better than any other player in the country, Legette exploded with over 1200 yards receiving to move from virtual draft afterthought to legitimate high-level NFL prospect.

With a 4.39 40-yard dash (while weighing 220 pounds), Legette will become one of the most physically-gifted receivers in the NFL the moment he steps onto the field. If he can put it all together at the next level, he could develop into a star and become the next great South Carolina football wide receiver alum in the National Football League.

Spencer Rattler and the other Gamecocks will wait to hear their names called as the NFL Draft continues with rounds 2 and 3 on Friday and 4-7 on Saturday.

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