Best South Carolina Athletes (Part 2)


In the over-saturated population of existing and aspiring pro athletes, there are a considerable number of big names in professional sports that began their careers in our home state of South Carolina. In this article, I will be continuing my introduction of some of the biggest stars from the Palmetto State. I will be focusing on football and basketball, because those are the sports I know best (sorry baseball fans).


Football Continued:


Javon Kinlaw

Born in 1997 in Trinidad and Tobago, Javon Kinlaw moved to South Carolina where he attended Goose Creek High School in Goose Creek, SC. After attending Jones County Junior College for one year after high school, Kinlaw transferred to South Carolina, where he gained notoriety, ultimately being drafted to the San Francisco 49ers as the 14th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. After being First-Team All SEC in 2019, Kinlaw is coming into his own and improving as a defensive tackle on San Francisco’s defense.


Dexter Coakley

Born in 1972 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Dexter Coakley attended Wando High School. After his high school career, Coakley brought his talents to Appalachian State. After a successful career at App State, being the 3x SoCon Defensive Player of the Year and 2x SoCon Male Athlete of the Year as a linebacker, Dexter Coakley was drafted as the 65th overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys. In the NFL, Coakley was a three time Pro Bowler with 762 career tackles, playing eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and two with the St. Louis Rams. 


Alshon Jeffery

Born in 1990 in St. Matthews, South Carolina, Alshon Jeffery attended Calhoun County High School. Jeffery brought his talents to our very own University of South Carolina, where he had a very prolific career, earning various awards such as First Team All-American (2010), First-Team Freshman All SEC (2009), and First-Team All SEC (2010). Drafted to the Chicago Bears as the 45th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Alshon Jeffery made the Pro Bowl in 2013, and has made the list of the 100 Greatest Bears of All Time. After 5 seasons with the Bears, Jeffery signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he won Super Bowl LII during his first season in Philly. 


Sidney Rice

Born in 1986 in Gaffney, South Carolina, Sidney Rice attended Gaffney High School. Another born and bred Gamecock, Rice attended the University of South Carolina, where he broke Sterling Sharpe’s program touchdown record in just two years. Rice was the 44th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, going to the Minnesota Vikings, where he played four seasons, becoming a second team all pro and a pro bowler. After Minnesota, Sidney Rice played three seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, retiring after winning Super Bowl XLVIII in his third season with the team.


Deebo Samuel

Born in 1996 in Inman, South Carolina, Deebo Samuel attended Chapman High School. Samuel played four seasons for the University of South Carolina, where he became a First Team All SEC and First Team All American in 2018. Drafted to the San Francisco 49ers as the 36th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Deebo Samuel has become a well-known wide-receiver, noted for his versatility on offense and his high status as a fantasy point producer. Deebo Samuel was a First Team All Pro and a Pro Bowler in 2021. 


Johnathan Joseph

Born in 1984 in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Johnathan Joseph attended Northwestern High School. Joseph attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas for one year after high school before moving back to SC after transferring to the University of South Carolina. After two seasons as a Gamecock, Johnathan Joseph was drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals as the 24th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. After his 5 year stint with the Bengals, Joseph played for 9 seasons on the Houston Texans, where he saw the most success, becoming a two time Pro Bowler and a Second Team All Pro in 2011.