Three South Carolina defensive starters are expected to miss spring practice due to injury.
Middle linebacker T.J. Brunson “probably won’t be cleared” after procedures to repair a sports hernia and meniscus damage, head coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw won’t be ready following hip surgery, and end Danny Fennell will be out after tearing his ACL against Clemson last year.
Safety Jamyest Williams and linebacker Eldridge Thompson won’t participate in contact drills due to shoulder injuries, and sophomore middle linebacker Rosendo Louis will be out after having shoulder surgery. The Gamecocks, who were 7-6 a year ago, begin spring practice Feb. 27. Defensive lineman Tyreek Johnson and running back Caleb Kinlaw both will miss due to knee injuries.
Starting defensive end D.J. Wonnum, who was limited to five games last year by an ankle injury, will “be full speed,” Muschamp said.
Brunson led South Carolina in tackles last year with 106. He has started 13 straight games for the Gamecocks.
Kinlaw missed the Belk Bowl due to a hip injury that limited him during the 2018 regular season. The senior from Charleston had 38 tackles and 4.5 sacks last year.
Williams was the one of the stars of South Carolina’s 2017 signing class but injuries have cut short both of his first two collegiate seasons. In 2017, he played in 11 games, starting six and registering 38 tackles and two interceptions, before a shoulder injury ended his season and kept him out of spring practice. He returned to start the first game of the 2018 season and played in eight games last year before another shoulder injury ended his season. He has 70 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups in his career.