Clemson University

USC's Brinkley on Nagurski watch list

South Carolina linebacker Jasper Brinkley was one of 49 players named to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the nation's top defensive player.

Brinkley, a first-team All-SEC selection last season, led the Gamecocks with 107 tackles. He led all SEC returnees with 85 solo tackles, the second-highest total in school history.

The award is sponsored by the Charlotte Touchdown Cllub and will be presented on Dec. 3. Ohio State's James Laurinaitis won it last year.

• ALMOST THERE: The Clemson men's track and field team concluded the season last week at the NCAA championships, led by pole vaulter Mitch Greeley.

Greeley, a Rock Hill native and former star at Northwestern High School, earned his first outdoor All-America honor and his second overall (2006 indoor). He vaulted 17'6 1-2" to finish tied for fourth after clearing his first three bars and missing three attempts at 17'10 1-2".

Greeley is the only Tiger to ever earn All-America honors in the pole vault.

Sprinter Travis Padgett also earned an All-America honor, finishing third in the 100-meter dash. It was his second straight All-America season and he became the fifth in school history to earn multiple honors.

• BREAKTHROUGH: Former USC golfer Kyle Thompson got his first professional win last week, firing a 16-under 268 to win the Rex Hospital Open on the Nationwide Tour.

Thompson has been on the Tour for four years and has been cursed with close calls. He'd held the lead five previous times heading into the final round but had never won, finishing four times in second place.

His 120th tournament was finally the one that got the monkey off his back. He shot a 7-under 64 on the first day to hold the lead with two others, but spurted ahead with a 6-under 65 in the second round.

The Nationwide will send 25 players to the PGA Tour after this season, an increase from the 20-card limit over previous years. Thompson, who finished 25th and 22nd over the past four years, ranks 15th this season.

• HONORED: Clemson senior rower Sarah Cooper was named second-team All-America this week, the second straight year she was honored.

Cooper is only the second multi-time All-American in Clemson history. The Westminster native led the Tigers to a No. 12 national ranking and a third-place showing at the ACC championships.