South Carolina Football: Former Gamecock, Columbia native signs new professional deal

Last month, five South Carolina football players were drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. Cam Smith, Zacch Pickens, Darius Rush, Jovaughn Gwyn, and Jalen Brooks were then joined in the NFL by undrafted free agent signings Josh Vann, Nate Adkins, Eric Douglas, Sherrod Greene, and Brad Johnson. Those professional football contracts weren’t the only deals this offseason for Gamecock alums, however.

Former kicker Parker White signed his contract with the Green Bay Packers, defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth re-signed with the Houston Texans, defensive back Keisean Nixon got paid by the Packers, tight end Hayden Hurst signed with the Carolina Panthers, receiver Damiere Byrd joined Hurst in Carolina, tackle Dennis Daley signed with the Arizona Cardinals, and punter Joseph Charlton re-upped with the Cleveland Browns.

One of Carolina’s best safeties ever DJ Swearinger signed a deal with the XFL’s DC Defenders and helped lead them to the XFL Championship Game. Kobe Smith played this spring for the San Antonio Brahmas, and the USFL saw former Gamecocks Zaquandre White, Blake Camper, Kyle Markway, and Sadarius Hutcherson sign deals.

Over the weekend, another Gamecocks signed a pro deal. TJ Brunson was given a contract to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Brunson was drafted into the NFL by the New York Giants in 2020 and spent two seasons with the team before being cut after a knee injury.

As a Gamecock, Brunson was one of the best linebackers in South Carolina football history. The Columbia native was the first “flip” of the Will Muschamp era when he spurned Louisville to play for his hometown team. He was an All-SEC performer while in garnet and black and was a captain on the 2018 and 2019 teams.