Antwane Wells had a massive amount of offseason hype surrounding him as an NFL Draft prospect for the Gamecocks. That focus has since shifted to teammate Xavier Legette, who is the nation’s leading receiver heading into the team’s fifth game. Wells’ foot injury is to blame for his absence, but it might also be why a diamond in the rough has been found.
As the potential 2024 NFL Draft prospect works to get back on the field, we have the latest on Wells’ injury status and what to expect from the playmaker.
Antwane “Juice” Wells Injury Update
Wells injured his left foot over the summer and had surgery on it during Fall camp. Although college football does not offer the kind of in-depth injury reports as the NFL, any foot injury for a wide receiver is a scary proposition. After working through it and trying to play in the first three weeks of the season, it was time to shut things down and let it heal.
“Let’s just let the foot settle down a little bit, see where we are, and then we’ll go from there,” head coach Shane Beamer said before last week’s game against Mississippi State.
Wells could miss significant time in 2023. Any kind of serious foot ailment in a wide receiver could hinder not only the present but the future. Wells is already a fifth-year player, and the NFL is coming up next. Risking long-term complications may not only hurt his play but also where he is selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, which gets into his wallet.
That’s not fair to him or his family, so it is nice to see that Beamer and the Gamecocks staff is at least facing this issue publicly with Wells’ best interest in mind.
The team ruled out Wells against Tennessee on Saturday night.
Current Draft Projection
Wells will receive the “possession WR” tag throughout the process, but that’s somewhat unfair. His nickname isn’t “Juice” for no reason.
Wells is explosive. He’s also a stellar post-catch player displaying the kind of contact balance, creativity, and freedom of movement consistent with stellar route runners.
To reach his NFL Draft ceiling, he will need to transfer that free-flowing movement and reactive creativity into proactive attention to detail. That will allow Wells to create more consistent separation without having to rely on lean-and-drive tactics on in-breakers.
His stock was firmly inside the Day 2 range. If Wells participates in Indianapolis during the NFL Combine and tests well, teams might forget that he missed a good chunk of the 2023 college season. But he’ll need to pass the physical tests on the field and in the medical examination room.
If not, we could see another receiver with a Puka Nacua arc at the NFL level.
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