Brinkley played two seasons at the Georgia Military Academy before enrolling at South Carolina. In his first season of D1 ball, he made an immediate splash. He led the Gamecocks with 107 tackles, 14.5 for loss, and five sacks. Big things were expected as a senior in 2007, and he was off to a quick start before a knee injury put him on the shelf after four games. To that point, Brinkley had 21 tackles and two interceptions on the year. He bounced back from the injury to have a solid senior year, posting 65 tackles, five for loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception.
Brinkley is a beast in between the tackles. He has tremendous size and is a force against the run. His size and power make it difficult for blockers to move him out of hole to open up running lanes. Brinkley shows the ability to occupy a blocker then shed when the action comes his way. He is quick in a short area and is aggressive filling the hole, and should be a fantastic run stopper in the NFL.
The knee injury Brinkley had last year is an issue he will have to face in the post season. He will need to prove that he is completely healthy and that it will not be a problem for him. Even without the knee injury, his potential may be limited to a two down run stuffer because he is a liability in coverage. He lacks the foot speed and change of direction ability to be a factor in space.
Brinkley has a future in the NFL because of his ability to stop the run. How much of an impact overall he will have is up in the air. He didnít appear to be as explosive after the injury, but he gave teams a reason for optimism at the combine. Brinkley was in excellent shape, clocked a surprising 4.72 40, and even jumped 35 inches in the vertical. Brinkley could be rounding back to form after the knee injury, and some team could have a steal on their hands if Brinkley is around after the third.