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T.J. Brunson got his feet wet last season, but could now embrace a starting role

The true sophomore looks to build off of a good freshman campaign.

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-South Florida vs South Carolina Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The Final Cockdown’s linebacker week rolls on! Missed a player? Click to catch up:

Bryson Allen-Williams | Skai Moore | T.J. Brunson | Davonne Bowen | Sherrod Greene | Eldridge Thompson | Damani Staley

#8 T.J. Brunson

Sophomore / 6’1” / 230 / Columbia, S.C. / Richland Northeast

T.J. Brunson is one of the guys who T-Rob and the rest of the defense needs to have a very good year. He is most likely going to be the starter at the MIKE right in between Skai Moore and Bryson Allen-Williams. We all know how good Skai is and how good Bryson can play, so the hope is that Brunson can have a good as a year as either one of them.

The Columbia native was mainly a special teams contributor last year, but he did play in 11 out of 13 games for the Cocks. He only had twelve tackles last year. This number is drastically going to go up since he isn't stuck behind TJ Holloman, Jonathan Walton, and Larenz Bryant. Skai Moore will most likely lead the team in tackles, but don’t be surprised to see Brunson in the 40-50 tackles area.

One of the pleasant surprises for the first recruiting class of the Will Muschamp era, T.J. Brunson was a Louisville commit in July of 2015. However, after a visit from Coach Mushcamp and former coach Shawn Elliott, Brunson would flip in little over a month.

2016 Stats: 12 tackles.

Recruitment: Had offers from Louisville, Florida State, Notre Dame, and others, including the Gamecocks. He was a Louisville commit before decommiting and deciding to stay home and play for USC.

Up Next: Davonne Bowen, a three-star member of the class of 2017.