COLUMBIA, S.C. — After taking a redshirt in 2019, Brad Johnson is healthy and ready for the 2020 season.
The Pendleton, S.C. native played in just four games last season after injuring his groin, allowing him to redshirt and retain an extra year of eligibility.
“I’ve been feeling good,” Johnson said after Tuesday’s practice. “This is the first time in a good little minute where I’ve been completely healthy.”
As a true sophomore in 2018, Johnson played in all 13 games, making two starts for USC. He totaled 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries playing behind D.J. Now, healthier than he’s ever been, Johnson has been moved to the SAM linebacker position.
“It’s got a lot of similarities with BUCK,” Johnson describes. “A lot of the same type of pass coverage deals. I’m still rushing the quarterback.” Johnson said the SAM position has more of a linebacker feel, as opposed to the BUCK position that has more of a defensive lineman feel.
The Pendleton High School grad says it’s been a smooth transition from the BUCK to the SAM position, much in part to his head coach. “Muschamp has done a good job, letting me understand what to do. It’s been a quick transition.”
One thing Johnson has been working on in the SAM position is his eye control. “It’s a lot more pass responsibility,” the redshirt junior says. “Playing the BUCK position, it’s easy to get lazy with your eyes. At SAM you have to be locked in and have good eye control all the time.”
The Gamecocks will return to the football field on Wednesday for another padded practice.