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USC star won't play rest of season to prepare for NFL Draft

Jaycee Horn will not be on the field for the Gamecocks final three contests.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina star defensive back Jaycee Horn will not play in the team's final games so that he can prepare for the NFL Draft. 

Horn made the announcement that he was opting out of the remainder of the 2020 campaign on his social media pages Monday night. The school has not yet acknowledged the move. 

"To my teammates: It hurts tremendously that I won't be out there with you guys the rest of the season, but I know y'all will finish strong," Horn wrote. "I want to thank y'all for pushing me each and every day and helping me strive to be the best player I can be. I wouldn't be here without y'all. Our brotherhood is unbreakable!" 

Horn said it was his dream to play in the SEC and South Carolina helped him fulfill that goal. He said "Thank you to all the REAL fans for supporting me even when times were tough. It's nothing like Willy B on a Saturday night. Thank you!" 

USC has three games left on its schedule: Missouri, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

RELATED: Will Muschamp fired as head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks

The news comes a day after it was announced that USC Head Coach Will Muschamp had been fired. The team had lost three games in a row, giving up 40 points in all those games and more than 50 in two games, including Saturday 59-42 loss to Ole Miss. The Gamecocks are just 2-5 on the season.

RELATED: Decision to fire Muschamp came down to wins, Tanner says

Horn's departure is a blow to a defense that's struggled with injuries this year. Horn had 16 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 6 pass breakups on the year. Horn is tied for the team lead in interceptions this season and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his play in the Gamecocks 30-22 victory over Auburn back on October 17th. 

Some mock drafts have suggested Horn could go as high as the first round of the draft. While early projections like that can be misleading, it may indicated why Horn decided to end the season early to try and avoid injury. 

Horn is a junior from Alpharetta, Georgia. He's the son of Joe Horn, a former NFL wide receiver best known for his days with the New Orleans Saints.