Defense could be best of Will Muschamp’s tenure
The front-four of the Gamecock defense has the potential to present opposing offenses problems this fall. The tackle position is loaded, led by senior Javon Kinlaw. If he has a good season, look for him to be a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Defensive end DJ Wonnum is back after missing most of last season to injury.
Last season saw very poor play from the Gamecock linebackers. Looking for a rebound season, senior TJ Brunson returns after leading the team with 106 tackles a year ago. Also on the redemption train are outside linebackers Sherrod Green and Daniel Fennell. All three are looking to make the unit the most improved this season.
The secondary would love to generate more big plays and turnovers this season.
A year ago, they could only intercept the ball six times and half of those were credited to cornerback Rashad Fenton, who has now graduated. Cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu have high end potential and could be stars. The rest of the secondary has talent but lacks experience and is thin in depth. An injury or two in the back end could be devastating.
The key for an improved defense will be to generate more pressure and getting into the backfield more often. Forcing more turnovers, only 16 last season, would go a long way in determining South Carolina’s direction this year.