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Palmetto State products named First Team All-Pro

Deebo Samuel and Darius Leonard are named First Team All-Pro after putting up outstanding numbers in the 2021 regular season.
Credit: AP
NFL logo on the field during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Some familiar names who carved out stellar careers in high school and college here in the Palmetto State have been named First Team All-Pro.

Chapman product and former Gamecock playmaker Deebo Samuel is named First Team All-Pro for the first time in his career after he became the first wide receiver in NFL history to record more than 1,300 receiving yards and 300+ rushing yards in the same season. Samuel, who has become one of the 49ers' go-to playmakers, also set an NFL record for most rushing touchdowns by a wide receiver (eight).

Samuel finished the regular season with 1,770 yards from scrimmage, which ranked 3rd in the entire NFL this season, despite Samuel missing a game. He  with 1,405 receiving yards and 365 rushing yards. He also threw a touchdown pass in the overtime win over the Rams this past Sunday and finished tied for first with George Kittle with a team-high six touchdown receptions.

Lake View graduate and former S.C. State star linebacker Darius Leonard led the Indianapolis Colts' defense with eight forced fumbles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries along with 122 tackles, four pass break-ups and three tackles for a loss. Leonard led the league with those eight forced fumbles and became the only player in NFL history to have eight or more forced fumbles and four or more interceptions in a single season.

A two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard is the only player in NFL history with 10 or more interceptions, 15 or more sacks and 15 or more forced fumbles in the first five years of a career. Leonard joins teammate Quenton Nelson and Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jim Parker as the only players in franchise history to earn First-Team All-Pro honors in three of their first four seasons.

Spring Valley graduate Andre Roberts, who starred at The Citadel, was named Second Team All-Pro as kick returner. Former Clemson defensive back A.J. Terrell makes the second team as a cornerback.

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