TAMPA, FL (WIS) - T.J Brunson knew the milestone that was up for grabs for his teammate and fellow linebacker Skai Moore.
"We talked about it before, but this was our last game playing together," said Brunson. "So, we just talked about making plays and trying to win and that's what we ended up doing. But competition-wise, we're always just trying to make plays and make stuff happen."
The former Richland Northeast standout trailed the Cooper City, Fla., native by 13 tackles heading into the Outback Bowl for the team lead. He'd finish with 13 tackles on the day giving him 88 total tackles on the season. But Brunson would come up just short as Moore ended the day with five tackles giving him 93 on the year. Now, Moore becomes the only Gamecock in program history and the 15th ever in NCAA Division I Football to lead the team in tackles for four seasons.
"It's a good accomplishment," Moore said. "That's all I can really say. Every year, I come out just trying to do that, to lead a team in tackles each year I've been here. And I'm fortunate enough to be able to do that so it's just a blessing to be honest with you."
Moore returned to the team after being sidelined in 2016 for the year with a neck injury. For Moore, coming back was special. However, coming away with this particular milestone his humbling.
"Three years ago, you could have told me this story and I wouldn't have believed you at all," Moore said. "But I'm happy the way it all worked out. God has a plan and I just follow His plan and it seems like it's working out good for me so far."
What Moore has done for this program can be seen in each of the year's he's played. Even when things weren't great, Moore still gave his all to the Carolina program and ultimately placed himself among the greats who donned the garnet and black.
"There's not words I can really put into his contributions to our football program at South Carolina," Muschamp said. "He's going to be a great pro. He's an every-down linebacker. The next step for Moore is the Reese's Senior Bowl on January 27. Although he leaves some big shoes to fill, he believes the Gamecocks will continue to make strides. He's instinctive and he's tough and he's really, really smart. And in my brief time in the National Football League, that's one attitude that you've got to have in order to have some longevity in the league, and that's to be extremely intelligent, and he is."
The next step for Moore is the Reese's Senior Bowl on January 27. Although he leaves some big shoes to fill, he believes the Gamecocks will continue to make strides.
"In a couple years, SEC champions and playoff contenders honestly," Moore said when asked about where this team could go in a couple years. "I mean, if you really think about how fast this program is turned around in two years from three to nine wins and it's only getting better. With all the young talent that we have, the sky is the limit. Like I said, I see us definitely winning the SEC and national championship contender for sure."