Dennis "D.J." Wonnum left Stone Mountain, Ga. late Thursday, with mom and dad and a family friend ready to take turns at the wheel.
His destination? Ames, Iowa — and Iowa State’s football program, more specifically.
Once the Class of 2016 tight end stirred after the long trip, he visited facilities and the ISU campus, eventually committing to be a Cyclone today.
Football’s a big reason. The quality of his education loomed at least equally large.
"I had done some research and I knew that I wanted to major in engineering," said Wonnum, who 247Sports.com has tabbed as a 3-star recruit. "They offer a great engineering program and that was one of the (things) I liked."
Wonnum said ISU secondary coach Maurice Linguist bonded with him during the recruiting process.
He chose the Cyclones over several schools, including South Florida, Cal and Kansas, among others.
"When I had seen everything in person and when I visited everything, I was like, ‘Yeah. I gotta do this,’" Wonnum said. "That’s my school right there."
Wonnum stands 6-3 and weighs in at about 220. He said he’s still developing as a player — on the field and in the weight room.
"I’m not the best that I can be and I feel like Iowa State is going to get that out of me," Wonnum said. "I’m getting better, I’m getting stronger and I feel like when I get there and move up to the next level I’m just going to try to be the best ball player I can be."
Best student, too. Once he gets used to how far he’ll be from home.
But his drivers on this 26-hour round-trip journey? What they saw made many returns seem like a good idea.
"They loved it, too," Wonnum said.