Photo of Jasper Brinkley
Jasper Brinkley (ILB)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 252
Conference: SEC
Hometown: Thomson, GA
High School: Thomson
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Minnesota Vikings
Round: 5
Pick (Overall): 14 (150)
Pick Analysis: The Vikings add a hard hitter to their lineup with the selection of Brinkley. The former Gamecock punishes ball carriers and will add a bit of toughness to the Vikings defense. He also fills a need for Minnesota at linebacker.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis

Brinkley made a successful recovery from 2007 knee surgery, returning to the dominant force he displayed for the Gamecocks when he and his twin brother, Casper, joined the program in January 2006. To say that South Carolina missed him in 2007 would be an understatement, as the Gamecocks struggled considerably without their leader in the middle of the field.

Without Brinkley's services for the last eight games of the 2007 campaign, the defense finished 56 in the nation, yielding 378.08 yards per game and missed the postseason bowl action. With their middle linebacker leading the way, the Gamecocks improved dramatically in 2008, as they finished 13th in the nation in total defense, allowing only 291.92 yards per game and finished second in pass defense (159.23 ypg).

The Brinkley twins terrorized opponents during their days at Thomson High School. Jasper garnered All-Area and All-State first-team honors as a junior and senior. To improve their academic standing, both enrolled at Georgia Military College upon high graduation. Jasper captured team MVP honors as a freshman and sophomore, going on to be named an All-American second team choice while playing middle linebacker in 2005.

The brothers enrolled at South Carolina in time to participate in 2006 spring drills. Casper took over one defensive end spot while Jasper became an instant hit at middle linebacker. He earned All-Southeastern Conference honors while leading the team with 107 tackles, including 85 solo hits (79% of his total). He finished third on the squad with five sacks and led the squad with 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, ranking sixth in the conference with an average of 1.08 tackles for loss per game.

Brinkley was the only Gamecock to be listed on the All-SEC preseason team in 2007. He was also on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award and Lombardi Award Watch Lists. He totaled 21 tackles (15 solos) with a pair of interceptions, but suffered a right knee anterior ligament tear vs. Louisiana State, undergoing surgery and bringing his season to an end with eight games left on the schedule.

With his brother, Casper, having signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent, Jasper returned to South Carolina in 2008. He was named All-SEC second-team and returned to his familiar middle linebacker role. He ranked third on the squad with 65 tackles (42 solos), including 2.5 sacks and five stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused a pair of fumbles and had his third interception for his Gamecocks' career.

Junior College

Attended Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. where he was coached by Bert Williams... Was a preseason first-team All-America linebacker who earned second-team post-season All-America accolades... Recognized as the team's MVP both as a freshman and sophomore... Came from the same program that produced current USC teammate Brandon Isaac.

High School

Attended Thomson (Ga.) High School, playing football for head coach Luther Welch...Earned first-team All-Area and All-State honors as a junior and senior.

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Positives: Prototype size and strength for the inside linebacker position. ... Immediate impact defender for South Carolina after transferring from Georgia Military College, and improved gradually. ... Shows some burst as pass rusher on the blitz. ... Good short-area quickness to elude blockers. ... Reliable open-field tackler and can be a punisher inside. ... Intimidating presence whose size and power project nicely as a 3-4 inside linebacker.

Negatives: Relies on his physical attributes and is still developing his instincts and technique. ... Too often looks to slip blocks instead of using his size advantage. ... Struggles with his hand placement and is slow to disengage. ... Can be fooled by misdirection and lacks the explosiveness to recover. ... Lacks the instincts and foot speed to be a factor in coverage. ... Missed all but four games of the 2007 season after tearing his ACL. ... Underwent surgery September 2007 and wasn't the same player in 2008, when his athleticism was nowhere close to what it was pre-injury.

Compares To: CARLOS POLK, Dallas -- Like Polk, Brinkley's pass coverage deficiencies will leave him performing as a two-down linebacker at the next level. He gives good effort on the field, but is best served in a 3-4 alignment where he would not have to handle making calls, as he has just an adequate mental grasp for those duties. He plays much better in the box than when giving chase, as he does a good job of keeping his shoulders square and exploding through the holes. There are just too many holes in his game (mental aspect, pass coverage) for a team to get excited over him.

Injury Report

2007: Played in the season opener vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (9/01) with a left ankle sprain...Suffered a right knee anterior cruciate tear vs. Louisiana State (9/22), undergoing surgery Sept. 26 that would sideline him for the final eight games of the season.

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