D.J. Wonnum grew up a Georgia fan. On Saturday, Wonnum hopes to be a big problem for the Bulldogs.
“I liked Georgia a lot, but as I got older, it didn’t really matter,” said Wonnum, the sophomore defensive end who leads South Carolina in sacks with four.
Wonnum’s affection for the Bulldogs officially ended when he was not offered a scholarship by Georgia coming out of high school. He was a three-star prospect at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga., about an hour’s drive from UGA’s campus, and he’s not the only Gamecock who has a similar feeling about the Bulldogs. Twenty-four players on South Carolina’s 109-man roster hail from Georgia.
“It’s a big game because some of us weren’t offered by Georgia so we have to show them why we play in the SEC,” Wonnum said. “Oh yeah, I’m coming in ready to play.”
Quarterback Jake Bentley, who went to high school in South Carolina and Alabama, can sense that his teammates from Georgia are putting more emphasis on this game.
“A lot of guys want this win being from Georgia so this will be a big game for us,” Bentley said.
For head coach Will Muschamp, it’s a chance to play in what he considers critical recruiting territory for the Gamecocks.
“There are a lot of really good players in the state of Georgia. We’ve only got 4.5 million in our state. There are over 6 million in the city of Atlanta so we spend a lot of time in the state of Georgia,” Muschamp said. “You’re competing for a lot of the same guys.”
Only one player on Georgia’s roster – Woodland graduate Michael Barnett – is from South Carolina.