The University of South Carolina had two players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. It marked just the second time in school history that the Gamecocks had two players selected in the first round in the same NFL draft.
Junior cornerback Stephon Gilmore was selected with the 10th pick of the first round by the Buffalo Bills, while senior defensive end/outside linebacker Melvin Ingram was taken with the 18th pick in the first round by the San Diego Chargers. They join the 1981 tandem of running back George Rogers (1st pick overall by the New Orleans Saints) and tight end Willie Scott (14th pick overall by the Kansas City Chiefs) as the only set of Carolina teammates to be selected in the first round of the same draft.
Gilmore, a 6-1, 189-pounder from Rock Hill, S.C., started every game at cornerback for three consecutive seasons. He led the team with four interceptions in 2012 and had eight picks over his three-year career. He was a third-team Associated Press All-American in 2010 and was a first-team All-SEC performer that season, according to the league's coaches. He led the team with 79 tackles in 2010 and finished his stint in the Garnet & Black with 181 career stops. He was also named the Harris Pastides Scholar-Athlete for football in the spring of 2011.
Ingram, a versatile 6-1 1/2, 265-pounder from Hamlet, N.C., was the most decorated Gamecock in 2011. He became just the third consensus All-American at South Carolina, joining George Rogers (1980) and Del Wilkes (1984). A team captain, Ingram earned first-team All-America honors by Associated Press, AFCA, Walter Camp, Sporting News, SI.com, ESPN.com, Rivals.com, CBSSports.com and Pro Football Weekly, and was a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection. He was invited to the Senior Bowl following a season in which he tied the school's single-season record for sacks with 10.0 and scored three touchdowns, including a 68-yard run on a fake punt in the win at Georgia. He was a three-time SEC Player-of-the-Week recipient in 2011.
Gilmore and Ingram become the 10th and 11th Gamecock players to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft and the first since 2006. They join a list that includes: Johnathan Joseph (2006, 24th to Cincinnati), Troy Williamson (2005, seventh to Minnesota), Dunta Robinson (2004, 10th to Houston), John Abraham (2000, 13th to the New York Jets), Ernest Dye (1993, 18th to Phoenix), Sterling Sharpe (1988, seventh to Green Bay), George Rogers (1981, first to New Orleans), Willie Scott (1981, 14th to Kansas City) and Rick Sanford (1979, 25th to New England).
At least one South Carolina Gamecock has been selected in the NFL Draft in 11 consecutive years.