COLUMBIA, S.C. — Three more South Carolina Gamecock players are ending their seasons early, bringing the total to four, the latest apparent fallout from the firing of Coach Will Muschamp.
Interim Gamecocks Head Coach Mike Bobo said Tuesday that defensive back Israel Mukuamu, safety R.J. Roderick, and defensive lineman Makius Scott will not play in the team's final games. The news comes a day after defensive back Jaycee Horn also announced he was cutting his season short to go pro.
Mukuamu and Roderick are juniors, while Scott is a freshman.
Mukuamu is the most prominent name on that list. He said Tuesday on social media he was opting out and will instead start preparing for the 2021 Draft.
"Tonight with great humility, gratitude, and excitement I'm announcing that I will forego the rest of the season to PREPARE FOR THE 2021 NFL DRAFT," Mukaumu wrote. "As I go forward, I take the entire Gamecock Family and community with me and will strive to make you proud."
Mukuamu has been injured during parts of the season and it was unclear if he could be ready for this weekend's game against Missouri. He has 10 tackles and 2 interceptions on the year.
The junior is perhaps best known by fans for his performance in last year's upset against Georgia. He had three interceptions in that game including one that was returned for a touchdown. He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week that week.
He was a preseason All-SEC selection and was named to the Jim Thorpe and Lott Award lists, national trophies which honor defensive players.
Mukuamu thanked USC fans and his family for their support and mentioned the coaching staff, including Muschamp, who was fired on Sunday after five years as the team's head coach.
"To Coach Muschamp, Robinson, Krantz and the entire coaching staff, you guys helped me become a better player and even more a better man," Mukuamu said. "Through your wisdom and mentorship, I've grown leaps and bounds mentally. Thank you for pouring into me and preparing me for the next level."
While neither Horn nor Mukuamu said the Muschamp firing played into their decision, the timing is curious, coming not long after that move was made.
Mukuamu is considered a potential first round NFL Draft pick.