As expected, South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will leave school early for the 2012 NFL Draft. He's expected to be selected in the top 10 picks, with SBNation.com's latest 2012 mock draft keeping him in-region, sending him No. 5 to the Carolina Panthers.
Jeffery will be remembered as one of the greatest players in South Carolina history, and one of the key components of two of the school's best teams ever. The Cocks won 11 games in 2011 despite losing star back Marcus Lattimore and experiencing their usual quarterback shuffling, thanks in large part to Jeffery. Only 762 yards made for a down year by his standards, but, again, you should've seen USC's quarterback play. Still, it ended with a 148-yard mauling of Nebraska that was cut short by a questionable ejection.
For a better look, check his sophomore year: 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns.
Here's our own Ryan Van Bibber's chances of going as early as No. 5:
Carolina's biggest need is in the middle of its defensive line. The fifth pick seems a little high for Penn State's Devon Still, though that could change as the draft season progresses. Cam Newton and Steve Smith formed a deep connection this season, but the young quarterback needs another, younger complementary receiver to take this offense to the next level. Not convinced there won't be some draft day horse trading? Just look, we're at the fifth pick and Robert Griffin and Matt Barkley are still on the board.