Zay Brown was in an odd spot among South Carolina’s defensive backs.
He came in with a big group in the 2017 recruiting class. One became a starter, another should be one this year. Two were forced to redshirt by injuries and the other left after the regular season wrapped.
And then there was Brown, who redshirted and played safety in the spring.
Now he’s not playing safety. He’s been working with USC’s linebackers this spring, specifically at the dime spot, which requires a little more coverage ability. Gamecocks inside linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler explained a big reason for the move.
“Maybe just the depth at DB, other guys might’ve made strides and kind of passed him,” Hutzler said. “And so to get him in at the dime spot and get him a chance, get him kind of a new chance on life a little bit, new spot, he’ll compete.”
At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he’s on the smaller side for a linebacker. But he came to USC with a reputation as a hitter.
As a high school senior, he had 80 tackles and three interceptions, and made 78 tackles with six interceptions the year before.
South Carolina is crowded but inexperienced at safety. The dime spot is the one Skai Moore just vacated. He’s working there with the likes of Eldridge Thompson and Sherrod Greene.
“He’s a guy that I think can do some things at the dime spot to help us out,” Hutzler said. “So we’re trying him out there. He’s coming in with the right attitude and the right energy. Working his butt off.”