South Carolina football defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, receiver Bryan Edwards and linebacker DJ Wonnum made choices last year to return to college and play out their senior seasons.
This year, they will be honored among some of the best seniors in the country.
On Wednesday, Kinlaw accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, the most prestigious of postseason All-State games to professional hopefuls. On Thursday, Edwards and Wonnum accepted their invites to the game.
The event and its practices are loaded with NFL scouts and often serve as a spring board for aspiring draft picks.
Kinlaw came off a 2018 performance that was statistically good but not where he wanted it to be. He came back in better health and has been a wrecking ball most of the season, getting two quarterbacks, drawing double teams and notably dominating in South Carolina’s upset of No. 3 Georgia.
The 6-foot-6, 310 pounder has 24 tackles, five sacks, two pass break-ups and a trio of QB hurries.
Out of Goose Creek High School, Kinlaw had to spend a year in junior college in Mississippi. He came to Columbia at 340 pounds, but quickly lost weight as he took a starting spot his first season.
Already the program leader in career receptions, Edwards exploded for 14 catches, 139 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt on Saturday. In doing so, he tied the school record for receptions in a game, got within 100 yards of the career receiving record and two away from the career touchdowns record.
“Watching @Edwards_Bryan4 against Alabama is something that will stick with us a long time. His competitive mentality was incredible that day,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy tweeted.
Only four other Gamecocks have ever caught as many passes in a game as Edwards — Samuel, Tori Gurley, Kenny McKinley and Zola Davis.
Wonnum, a Georgia native, was injured much of last season and is having a big senior year. He has 29 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and one interception this season.
All three walk on senior day this weekend before the Appalachian State game at 7:30 p.m.