COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina sophomore linebacker T.J. Brunson made plenty of on-field calls when he played on the Richland Northeast High School defense.
Brunson, a former 3-star recruit, was in charge of relaying the coach’s signals from sideline to field, to make sure the Cavaliers defense was ready to execute the right play.
Brunson, entering his second season at South Carolina, is learning how to do that this spring.
“It was more simple (in high school). Tight calls and understand if we were playing man and zone. … It’s just a little more different now,” he said. “There’s a lot.”
As is customary when jumping into a system engineered by one of the top defensive minds in college football. Brunson fully accepts the challenge, though he admits it’s a little “different” to have that kind of responsibility when you haven’t even be on the team for a full year.
“It’s definitely different, especially being a younger guy, setting the defense and knowing what’s supposed to be going on throughout a play,” Brunson said. “I think I’m adjusting to it. I think I’m adjusting to it and growing into the role that I have.”
Senior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams agreed with Brunson’s assessment.
“You can just see his body beginning to change. He’s starting to look like a college player,” Allen-Williams said. “He’s just being mature. We’re letting him make most of the calls, even though me and Skai (Moore) know a couple of the calls. He’s making all the calls.
“That’s just giving him confidence. When we go out on the field and get in a scrimmage situation, like we did Saturday, he can just go out and play fast, know that he’s confident in making all the calls and all the checks and stuff.”
Working behind Jonathan Walton last season, Brunson was credited with 12 tackles.
“I think, as of right now, I’m in a good spot,” Brunson said. “I can only go up from here.”