Wonnum’s brother, D.J., is already a star pass rusher for the Gamecocks, and one of Wonnum’s teammates at Tucker High in Georgia, Josh Vann, signed with USC this past December.
But speaking Wednesday after he and Vann had their signing ceremony, the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Wonnum said that while his brother obviously influenced his decision by introducing him to South Carolina’s coaching staff, the chance to get to play alongside D.J. didn’t really factor in his choice.
“It was a little plus, but it didn’t really have no impact on (what) my major decision was,” Wonnum said. “The biggest factor was where I felt like I could spend my four years there. I took quite a few visits there, I know almost everybody there.”
D.J. said this past fall that he was specifically trying to avoid making his younger brother feel pressured to go to South Carolina, and on Wednesday, Vann said that was his approach as well.
“I just talked to him here and there and just asked where he was going to go. And he never knew where he wanted to go,” Vann said. “But it was his decision, just like it was for me, it was my decision, so I was going to be happy for him wherever he went to, but I’m glad he chose South Carolina. That’s even better.”
In the end, Wonnum, who chose USC over Tennessee and Auburn, said what was really effective in persuading him was his relationship with South Carolina’s coaching staff, especially offensive line coach Eric Wolford.
“(Wolford’s) a good coach. We have a pretty good relationship. We talk every day. We don’t talk on the phone every day, but he texts me every day,” Wonnum said.
And of course, the team’s on-field success didn’t hurt either, especially the way the offense performed for newly-promoted coordinator Bryan McClendon during the Outback Bowl, Wonnum said.
“I like the way the offense is headed, and I want to be a part of that,” he said Wednesday.
Wonnum is the highest-rated offensive line recruit for Will Muschamp’s class, and he said he hopes to start as a freshman. Short of that, he said he doesn’t have any specific goals for his rookie season, just to get better.
On the practice field, he’ll likely be tasked at some point with blocking his brother — Will Muschamp said he believes Dylan can play either tackle position, and D.J. lines up as a defensive end or in the BUCK position.
When that happens, Dylan Wonnum said he is confident in his ability to handle his older brother. When told that D.J. had joked earlier that he had never blocked him, Wonnum laughed.
“I don’t know about all that. That ain’t true,” he said.