After turning the season around, South Carolina linebacker T.J. Holloman is focused on ending his Gamecocks career with a win against Clemson and a bowl game appearance.
South Carolina was sitting at 2-4 and had just lost three straight games heading into its bye week on October 15. Will Muschamp’s first year in Columbia looked like it was going to be a disaster.
Star linebacker T.J. Holloman and the rest of the senior class were not going to let that happen.
“We came back and together said, ‘this is unacceptable.'” Holloman told Campus Insiders. “This group of seniors said we didn’t want to go out this way.”
Three straight wins later, including an upset over then No. 18 Tennessee, and the Gamecocks are one victory away from a bowl game. They’re also still alive in the SEC East divisional race. The team’s attitude has changed, and it all starts with the man in charge.
“He’s extremely focused and involved,” Holloman said of Muschamp. “He’s hands on with the defense. His intensity is amazing.”
Holloman is tied for the team lead in total tackles with 53, including 36 unassisted and three for a loss. The senior from Stone Mountain, Georgia has also forced one fumble and recorded two interceptions on the season.
He also has had an indirect impact on the offense, talking to freshman quarterback Jake Bentley and making sure the young man’s head is on straight. Bentley left Opelika (AL) High School after his junior year, and instead of playing on Friday nights, is now picking apart SEC defenses in front of thousands of fans. The quarterback’s passion for the game is what stands out for Holloman.
“Jake loves the game,” Holloman said. “He handles all the distractions of being in college.”
Holloman wants his legacy among the Gamecocks faithful to be of someone who loved the University of South Carolina, gave his all, and shepherded his team through adversity. A possible NFL paycheck awaits, but for right now, his eyes are squarely on the three remaining games of the season and going out with a bang.
“[I’m] focused on getting to a bowl game,” Holloman said before adding, “and beating Clemson.”
That last sentence is music to all Gamecocks fans’ ears.