The "walk on" label has caused some misconceptions of Brenner's abilities. Due to his closeness to the UNC coaching staff, and his shortened timeframe to decide, many schools pulled away.
"He's definitely a Division I linebacker," said Miller Safrit, of Scout.com. "He decided to walk on because he has the ability to do so. He could have received scholarships from solid teams all over the place, but he knew where he wanted to be and scholarship money wasn't a factor."
After Brenner's pledge to the Tar Heels, however, his name seemed to fade from recruiting rankings and coverage.
"While Trey may be a ghost to anyone who hasn't seen him play, he's no Casper when he hits the field," stated Brenner's father. "Just ask Toney Baker."
Baker, a Scout.com five-star tailback who recently committed to rival N.C. State, had the worst game of his senior season when his Jamestown (N.C.) Ragsdale team faced Brenner and Southern Durham late in NCHSAA 3A playoff bracket. Brenner recorded 11 tackles (including one for a loss), while Baker was held to a season-low 115 yards.
Brenner ended the season with 192 tackles, after recording 128 tackles (15 for a loss and 4 sacks) the prior year.
Brenner isn't just all stats, at 6-foot-0, 199 pounds (now up to 215), he ran a 4.79-second forty-yard dash, rep'd 225 pounds 25 times, and recorded a 30-inch vertical at the Nike combine held in Charlottesville.