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Dakereon Joyner says heartfelt goodbye to South Carolina, declares for NFL Draft

Longtime South Carolina football player Dakereon Joyner said goodbye to Gamecock Nation and declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, he announced Wednesday via X (formerly known as Twitter).

In his announcement, Joyner first thanked God, then expressed his gratitude to USC fans and coaches.

“Thank you all for the tremendous amount of love I received throughout these years,” Joyner’s statement read. “Your love and support has been unconditional and like no other and I genuinely appreciate it.”

Joyner’s six years with Gamecocks football came to an end Saturday night after South Carolina lost to Clemson 16-7 at Williams-Brice Stadium. Off the field, he earned a bachelor’s degree in sport and entertainment management and became a father to now-9-month-old daughter Kahlani.

In 2021, he stepped in at quarterback after 12 games as a receiver to help lift USC to a 38-21 Duke’s Mayo Bowl win over North Carolina in coach Shane Beamer’s first year at the helm. Joyner played three different positions (quarterback, receiver and, this year, running back) over the course of his career, earning a reputation as one of the program’s most selfless leaders.

He ended the season with 50 carries for 120 net yards and five touchdowns in 10 games.

“My journey here at the University of South Carolina didn’t go how I expected it to go, but it went how it was supposed to go,” Joyner’s NFL declaration read. “Through the trials and tribulations, I’ve grown into a great father, son, mentor and versatile player, so God I thank you!

“Some speculated I would be done playing ball, but I’m not done yet.”

When the game clock ticked down to zero Saturday night, Joyner made one last trek toward the stands. He shook hands with fans in the Cockpit and others standing along the USC sideline, making his way from the student section end zone down to the tunnel at the other end of the field.

“Guys like Dakereon and those guys that have given so much to this program, for them not to be able to finish on a higher note,” Beamer said Saturday night, “it’s something I’ll have a hard time getting over.”