COLUMBIA, S.C. (THE BIG SPUR) - The Minnesota Vikings selected South Carolina edge rusher D.J. Wonnum with the No. 117 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Wonnum excelled coming off the edge in South Carolina’s defense over the last four years. A starter at the BUCK (hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker position), Wonnum collected 29.5 tackles for loss, which ranks ninth on the school’s all-time list. He appeared in 43 games with 30 starts and was a four-time SEC Defensive Player or Lineman of the Week selection.
Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp threw a lot of praise Wonnum’s way days before his player was selected in the 2020 draft.
“His football intelligence is off the charts,” Muschamp said. “The National Football League, because of the collective bargaining agreement a while back, they’re limited on the field with what they can do so that limits you schematically of what you can do because you have to spend less time on the field. He’s a guy who can learn and play multiple spots, but he also gives you special teams value.”
Before Wonnum moves on to professional football, here is a look back at his collegiate career. The Class of 2016 prospect, who flipped his commitment from Indiana to South Carolina after Muschamp was hired, spent four seasons with the Gamecocks and was a two-time team captain. The following is courtesy of GamecocksOnline.com.
2019 Senior BUCK who was named one of five permanent team captains… accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl… was a second-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press… named honorable mention all-conference by Pro Football Focus… was on the Mayo Clinic list for Comeback Player of the Year… selected by the Carolina coaches as the Comeback Player of the Year… also was a Nutrition Award, Strength & Conditioning, and Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete Award winner… finished the season with 37 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks… named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Kentucky when he registered a career-high 3.0 sacks among his five tackles and forced a fumble… it was the fourth time he had been recognized by the SEC for a weekly award in his career.
2018 Junior who suffered through an injury-plagued season... limited to five games, all starts... credited with 11 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks... made three tackles against Coastal Carolina, including 1.0 for loss, before leaving the game with a sprained ankle... returned from a five-game hiatus to have a big day in the Tennessee win, with three tackles and 2.0 sacks, including a sack on UT’s final play... named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts... with brother, Dylan, earning SEC Freshman of the Week the same week, became the first set of brothers to earn league honors the same week.
2017 Sophomore who was named a permanent team captain... also honored as a Strength & Conditioning Award winner and the Most Productive Player for the defense... started all 13 games... collected 57 tackles, while leading the team with 13.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks... ranked eighth in the SEC in tackles for loss.
2016 True freshman defensive lineman who played in every game... named to Athlon’s All-SEC Freshman second team... logged 32 tackles, tops among all Gamecock freshmen... also had 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a pair of quarterback hurries.