GamecockCentral.com takes a post-spring practice look at each position on the roster. Today we break down the linebackers.
The story of the linebacking corps entering spring camp was how South Carolina would find a replacement for Skai Moore.
But the continued progression of middle linebacker T.J. Brunson may have been a just as noteworthy development as the junior from Columbia took ownership of the entire defense.
“I think he took the bull by the horns in doing that. He’s a guy that our coaching staff on the defensive side of the football label as he’s our leader,” defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson said. “He’s a really talented football player, a great person and he’s everything we want around at South Carolina.”
After serving as a backup his freshman year, Brunson started every game last season as the Gamecocks middle linebacker, collecting 88 total tackles and two sacks.
As one of six starters returning starters on defense, he’s taken on the vocal leadership role that the unit needed.
Back to replacing Moore, it appears that sophomore Sherrod Greene has the edge in the race to start at the WILL linebacker spot alongside Brunson. Greene could take a similar career path to Brunson in that he played as a reserve as a freshman this past season and could be a starter as a sophomore - Greene even wears No. 44 - the jersey number that Brunson rocked as a freshman.
Behind those two, freshman Rosendo Louis worked as the backup MIKE this spring while senior Eldridge Thompson and sophomore Damani Staley appear ready to battle it out for the backup WILL spot.
South Carolina has talent and depth at its SAM linebacker spot with the return of fifth-year senior Bryson Allen-Williams and redshirt junior Daniel Fennell. Allen-Williams returns for his final season after last season was cut short due to a shoulder injury and Fennell has developed into a steady performer under the new Carolina coaching staff.