South Carolina football: Options aplenty at linebacker

South Carolina football-Eldridge Thompson-linebacker

The South Carolina football team has a nice blend of youth and experience at the linebacker position, though it will be a little shorthanded this spring.

But the Gamecocks should have enough hands on deck to field a pair of 3-man linebacker groups for their base scheme.

Here is SEC Country’s look at what South Carolina’s linebacker rotation could look like this spring:

The starters

  • Senior outside linebacker Eldridge Thompson: Served as Skai Moore’s backup during his first season after transferring from the junior college level, and totaled 10 tackles. Will compete for the starting weakside spot in 2018.
  • Junior middle linebacker T.J. Brunson: The top returning tackler (88) from a season ago, Brunson was on the field for basically every meaningful snap in 2017, during which he recovered 3 fumbles and had 2 sacks.
  • Sophomore outside linebacker Sherrod Greene: Quickly emerged as one of the top 2017 signees, finishing with 22 tackles over 10 games. Greene could work as Brunson’s primary backup, in addition to locking down one of the outside jobs.

Second-team jobs

  • Sophomore Damani Staley: Appeared in six games as a freshman, but did not record a tackle.
  • Redshirt freshman Davonne Bowen: Redshirted in 2017.
  • Freshman Rosendo Louis: Former 4-star recruit who enrolled in January. Like a few others at the position, Louis could occupy multiple linebacker spots.

The injured list

  • Senior outside linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams: The same shoulder injury that sidelined him last season will limit Allen-Williams during spring practice. He could be a candidate to start at the weakside spot, but could also return to his role as a strongside linebacker and a pass-rush specialist. Wherever it may be, expect Allen-Williams to have another prominent role in 2018, once he’s healthy.
  • Redshirt junior outside linebacker Antoine Wilder: Ruled out for spring practice following a recent elbow surgery. The converted safety is a potential strongside option.
  • Freshman middle linebacker Ernest Jones (back): The midyear enrollee is out because of a back injury sustained in high school. Committed last May with plans to play middle linebacker.

The post South Carolina football: Options aplenty at linebacker appeared first on SEC Country.

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