Three Gamecocks picked on final day of NFL Draft
COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 29, 2023) — University of South Carolina cornerback Darius Rush was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the fourth pick in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the 138th player taken overall.
Rush, who measured in at 6-1 7/8 and 198 pounds on the Gamecocks’ Pro Timing Day, originally came to Carolina as a wide receiver, but was converted to cornerback during his collegiate career. He played in 43 career games for the Gamecocks, including 21 starts. The Kingstree, S.C. native logged three career interceptions and broke up 15 passes. He collected 78 tackles, including 38 as a senior in 2022.
Rush was the second Gamecock cornerback taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, joining second-round pick Cam Smith, who went to the Miami Dolphins, and the first player selected by the Colts since Justice Cunningham was taken in the seventh round of the 2013 draft.
For the second time in the past three seasons, the Gamecocks have had a pair of defensive backs taken in the draft. Smith and Rush follow in the footsteps of Jaycee Horn (first round to Carolina) and Israel Mukuamu (sixth round to Dallas), who were both taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Rush becomes the 33rd Carolina defensive back selected all-time, with 18 taken since 2002.
Offensive guard Jovaughn Gwyn was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the eighth pick in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the 225th player taken overall.
Gwyn, who measured in at 6-1 3/4 and 300 pounds on the Gamecocks’ Pro Timing Day, was a four-year starter and a two-time team captain for the Gamecocks. The Charlotte, N.C. product played at the right guard position, starting in 47 games, tying for fourth on the school’s all-time list, while tying for second in school history with 47-consecutive starts.
As a senior, Gwyn was named to the Coaches’ Second-Team All-SEC squad and was a fourth-team All-SEC selection by Phil Steele. He was presented with the Outstanding Student-Athlete Award, the Strength & Conditioning Award and the Most Outstanding Senior Award following the season. Gwyn was also a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and was a member of the 2023 NFF Hampshire honor Society.
Gwyn was the fourth Gamecock selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the first Gamecock offensive lineman drafted since Dennis Daley went to the Carolina Panthers in 2019, and the first offensive guard selected since A.J. Cann went to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015. He was the first player selected by the Falcons since Travian Robertson was taken in the seventh round of the 2012 draft.
Wide receiver Jalen Brooks was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 27th pick in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the 244th player taken overall.
Brooks, who measured in at 6-1 and 200 pounds on the Gamecocks’ Pro Timing Day, began his career at Division II Wingate before playing his final three seasons in Columbia. He logged 58 catches for 785 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 24 games including 22 starts with the Garnet & Black. The Harrisburg, N.C. product started all 12 regular season games in 2022, hauling in 33 passes for 504 yards, an average of 15.3-yards per catch. Following the season he was recognized with the Overcoming Adversity Award and earned the Community Service Award from the coaching staff at the Senior Banquet.
Brooks was the fifth Gamecock selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the first Gamecock wide receiver drafted since Shi Smith went to the Carolina Panthers in 2021. He was the first player selected by the Cowboys since Israel Mukuamu was taken in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. He is the eighth Gamecock wide receiver taken in the last 12 NFL Drafts.
Brooks joins Cam Smith, Zacch Pickens, Darius Rush and Jovaughn Gwyn as Gamecocks selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, the most Carolina players selected since the 2013 NFL Draft when seven players were taken.
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