DE D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina

6’5” – 254 lbs.

Appeared in every game as a true freshman, ending the season with a line of 32-3.5-1.5. Was named a permanent team captain the following year, stepping into a starting role and finishing with 57-13.0-6.0. Was limited by injury to just five games played as a junior, ending the season with 11-3.5-2.0, then returned to start at the Buck position and ended up with 37-9.5-4.5. Very well-built for an edge rusher, with excellent height, solid bulk, and 34” arms. A gritty, throwback type of player who plays on both sides of the line in both two- and three-point stances. As his statistics would suggest, is predominantly valuable as a run defender. Plays with toughness and physicality, attacking blockers aggressively when two-gapping. Gets good extension with his arms to lock out opposing linemen, with active hands and some power to stack and shed. Has enough lower-body strength to anchor and set the edge. Eye discipline is good; reads keys and locates the ball well. Might be more of an “elephant” type linebacker because his range is somewhat limited by just adequate athleticism. Didn’t look too difficult for opposing tackles to block on passing downs. Reaction times to the ball being snapped leave something to be desired, and is not the smoothest or most explosive player once he gets going. When he’s not attempting to slide and find an open lane to the quarterback, uses a pretty straightforward power-based approach as a pass-rusher; looks more comfortable getting low and trying to walk back opposing tackles with his bull-rush than he does trying to bend the edge, where there’s a little bit of wasted movement to his game. Does a pretty good job of recognizing opportunities to lower his shoulder and slip between gaps, knifing into the backfield to generate pressure. Was asked to drop into coverage somewhat regularly, and while he looks a little bit stiff and hunches over when backpedaling, he gives good effort when making spot drops or spying the quarterback. Previous injury history will need to be looked into at the Combine. A likable prospect for his hard-nosed style of play; combines size, power, technique, and discipline in order to help out in the run game, but may end up being more of a rotational player because of his difficulty generating consistent pressure as a pass-rusher.

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