South Carolina football: Gamecocks stars focused on the moment, not NFL

COLUMBIA, S.C. — There will come a time when Jake Bentley and D.J. Wonnum are among the main attractions at the South Carolina football pro day.

They’ll be eligible to test the NFL draft waters after this season, but neither of the two juniors are worried about that step, at least not right now.

“I’m not really looking to that pro football stuff right now,” Wonnum said. “I’m just playing for the Gamecocks right now, so eventually I feel like that will come.”

As a sophomore, the defensive end/outside linebacker finished fourth on the team with 57 tackles and first in tackles for loss (13) and sacks (6).

Bentley, a late addition to the 2016 signing class of which Wonnum was a part, has been the starting quarterback in South Carolina’s last 20 games. In 2017, he completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,794 yards with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

With quarterbacks coach Dan Werner at his side, Bentley watched most of the Gamecocks’ pro day on Tuesday. Bentley’s brother, Chas Dodd, who’s an assistant on the team’s strength staff, helped out by throwing passes to tight end Hayden Hurst and the rest of the receivers.

“You’re sitting there and you’re like, one day I’m going to be out here,” Bentley said. “You’re like, what teams are going to be here? And obviously you’ve got coach [Bill] Belichick watching Hayden and so it’s just exciting to know that the opportunity is there. But also I know how hard Hayden worked, and the rest of the guys, too, Skai [Moore] and all them, how hard they worked to get to that point.

“It just showed me that there’s a lot more work to be done until that point, so I’ve just got to keep working, and when that time comes just embrace it and make the most of it.”

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