Staying in the Carolinas: Jaycee Horn drafted by Panthers
For the second straight year and third time in four years, a South Carolina football player has been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Gamecocks junior cornerback Jaycee Horn was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft Thursday night.
It's the first time since 2005 and 2006 the Gamecocks have had first-round picks in consecutive years. Troy Williamson was taken No. 7 overall in 2005 followed by Johnathan Joseph at No. 24 in 2006.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Alpharetta, Ga. native was the first cornerback taken in this year's draft after completing a successful three-year career at South Carolina.
A former four-star prospect, Horn signed with the Gamecocks over Tennessee as Rivals' No. 20 cornerback and 189 overall prospect in the 2018 class.
The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee looked the part of future NFL draft pick from the moment he arrived on campus in Columbia.
A Day 1 starter at South Carolina, Horn started 10 games as a true freshman, earning Freshman All-SEC honors, 12 games as a sophomore and seven games this past season before opting out after Will Muschamp was fired following a 2-5 start to the season.
"Three-year starter with tantalizing combination of size and length that is clearly effective when matched in tight man coverage," Horn's NFL.com draft profile reads in part. "Horn can line up in any cover scheme and often traveled with the opponent’s most talented target. He plays with desired eye discipline from zone and the talent to impede release from press. ..."
Horn completes his South Carolina career with 101 total tackles, including 7.0 TFLs and 3.0 sacks, and two interceptions. Both of those picks came this past season when Horn shut down top Auburn receiver Seth Williams and caused a third interception in the Gamecocks' upset win over the Tigers.
Horn is the second straight Gamecock to be selected in the first round after the 49ers selected defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw with the 14th pick in the 2020 draft. Two seasons before, the Ravens picked tight end Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Horn is the first Gamecock to hear his name called in this year's draft but won't be the last. Wide receiver Shi Smith, linebacker Ernest Jones, offensive lineman Sadarius Hutcherson and cornerback Israel Mukuamu are also expected to be selected at some point in the three-day draft.
The NFL Draft continues on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at noon on ESPN.
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