COLUMBIA, S.C. (THE BIG SPUR) - While it may have taken some time between picks, South Carolina had a fourth player taken off the board. Linebacker T.J. Brunson was selected with the No. 238 pick overall in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
Brunson, a Senior Bowl selection, was a team captain in 2019 for the Gamecocks and finished second on the team in total tackles after moving to the weakside linebacker position. He was also second on the team in total tackles as a sophomore, but led the team in 2018 as a junior with 106 total stops.
Prior to the draft, NFL Draft analyst Charles Nagy believed that Brunson could hear his name called.
"I certainly think he’s a draftable player,” Nagy said. “We wouldn’t have invited him to the senior bowl. There is not one player we invited this year that we didn’t think was a draftable player. Now, things get factored in from when we invite them to April when they’re picked like medical stuff and character stuff that we don’t know about. I think T.J. is a draftable player. He’s played MIKE and played WILL. He’s been moved around a bunch.”
Here are a few recent notes from his Gamecocks Online bio:
Linebacker who was a leader of the defense... two-time permanent team captain... started every game over the past two seasons and made 38 career starts... logged 283 career tackles, including 164 unassisted tackles, tying for 10th on the school’s all-time list.
2019: Senior linebacker who was one of five permanent team captains named following the season… picked by his teammates for Leadership Award for defense… selected to play in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl… started all 12 games… finished second on the squad with 77 tackles including 6.0 tackles for loss… also had five pass breakups… had a season-high 12 tackles at Missouri… also had double-digit stops against Georgia (10) and Tennessee (10)… had a fumble recovery in the upset win over Georgia… notched his first career interception against Vanderbilt… sat out the spring while recovering from off-season surgery... graduated in December.
2018: Named as one of four permanent team captains... recognized by his peers with four postseason awards for the defense: shared the Joe Morrison Award as the MVP with Javon Kinlaw, was one of three Unselfish Teammate Award winners, garnered the Leadership Award, and shared the Most Productive Player Award with Jaycee Horn... received the Nutrition Award from the coaches... led the team with a career-high 106 tackles and tied for seventh in the SEC averaging 8.2 tackles per game... led the team with 10.5 tackles for loss and was second with 4.0 sacks... led the team in tackles in seven of 13 games... posted a three-game SEC stretch in which he recorded a total of 45 tackles... logged 14 stops versus Tennessee, had 15 tackles including 3.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks at Ole Miss, then finished the stretch with a 16-tackle performance at Florida that included 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble... collected a dozen tackles in the Belk Bowl versus Virginia.