LAWRENCE — Kansas football’s pro day is in the rear-view mirror, and for Daniel Wise, that only meant one thing.
The former Jayhawk standout was ready to tackle a more literal kind of hunger.
“I’m going to go out to eat, get a nice dinner,” Wise said Wednesday after finishing his last drill at the event. “I think I deserve that.”
The defensive tackle was one of 18 former KU players to participate in the pro day festivities at Anderson Family Football Complex and inside the team’s new indoor practice facility, with scouts from various NFL franchises observing measurements and drills for the nearly three-hour session.
Expected to be the first Jayhawk selected at the NFL Draft held April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn., Wise got his third crack at performing in front of a cluster of scouts — he also played in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 12 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and participated in the NFL Scouting Combine held Feb. 26-March 4 in Indianapolis. According to KU, Wise's best 40-yard-dash time Wednesday clocked in at 5.16 seconds, an improvement on 5.34 he posted at the combine.
The 6-foot-3, 279-pounder said he was happy with Wednesday’s showing and said he felt he improved his stock in the eyes of those decision makers in attendance.
“Definitely did,” Wise said. “Definitely hope I did.”
Wise wasn't as nervous for KU’s pro day as he was for the combine, a mixture of having more experience this time around and simply feeling at home in Lawrence. Performing alongside former teammates and in front of ex-Jayhawks such as Dorance Armstrong, now with the Dallas Cowboys, likely helped that second aspect, as did the presence of older brother Deatrich Wise Jr.
Wise said his brother’s advice was simple: Relax, do what you’ve trained to do and remember your preparation.
“That’s my guy. That’s my brother,” Wise said of Deatrich Wise Jr., a defensive end with the New England Patriots. “He brings the energy. I felt it from over there.”
If Wise already had the scouts’ attention before Wednesday, he likely could attribute it to a starring performance at the East-West Shrine Game, where he recorded four tackles, half a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit in a disruptive day in the backfield. Wise said he felt that showing helped him “move up in a lot of guys’ books” and highlighted his “explosion, the hands (and) quickness.”
Former KU linebacker Joe Dineen, who also took part in the pro day event, indicated Wise’s future at the next level should be a no-brainer.
“Daniel’s just a football player,” Dineen said. “I mean, his drills, he’s smooth. He looks real good when he moves. I think he got his 40 time down to something he really liked. I don’t know how happy he was at the combine, but I think he really liked his 40 time (here). He looked fast. ...
“I’m happy with how he did. He’s going to make a lot of money.”
Wise claimed the only feedback he’s been getting from NFL reps has been positive, adding the projections he’s heard have him pegged as a middle-round selection in the draft.
When that day comes, Wise doesn’t expect butterflies.
“It’ll be a lot of anxiety built up, but I won’t be too nervous,” Wise said. “I think I trust my hard work in this process and up until then, so I’ll be feeling good.”
Wise arrived back in Lawrence on Monday and caught a glimpse of the new-look Jayhawks at a recent practice, with more on tap. He’s noticed an energy and buzz around both players and program, adding first-year head coach Les Miles is “a great guy” who “loves the game.”
Speaking after his first athletic endeavor inside the indoor practice facility, Wise couldn’t help himself from marveling at the new digs — and from taking a playful jab at the current Jayhawks.
“It’s beautiful. Yeah, I wish I had this when I was here,” Wise said. “I told ’em they’re getting soft.”
Dineen tweaks hamstring
Dineen’s morning was cut short after the 6-2, 231-pounder tweaked his right hamstring near the end of his third 40-yard-dash attempt. The linebacker bowed out of the rest of the session as a precautionary measure.
Dineen finished with a best 40-yard time of 4.6 seconds, and recorded a 33-inch vertical, a 115-inch broad jump and 20 bench press reps in the earlier events.
“It sucks, but from what I’ve heard, scouts look at everything, so it was important for me not to just sit there and pout and feel sorry for myself,” Dineen said. “That’s why I wanted to go out down there and support my guys and just support them through their drills and stuff. It sucked, and I wish I was out there, but I just felt like I had to try and stick around and keep guys going a bit out here, which is all I really could do.”
Dineen, who notched 142 tackles — 109 solo — and 10½ tackles for loss as a fifth-year senior, said he’s hopeful tape of his in-game exploits will be enough to catch someone’s attention ahead of the NFL Draft.
Candidly, Dineen acknowledged he doesn’t really want to watch that three-day event.
“Hopefully, I can go golfing and go eat at nice restaurants and do anything but watch TV, but I know I’ll end up sitting there watching it because that’s just how it rolls," Dineen said. "I’m going to try not to watch it, but we’ll see. We’ll see how that goes.”
Even if he goes unselected, Dineen indicated he’s bullish about his future at the next level.
“Obviously, you hope you get drafted, but if not, it’s not going to hold me back or anything,” he said. “I feel like some team will get lucky to have me, and I’ll go out there and make it hard for myself to get cut.”
Taylor turns heads
Cornerback Shakial Taylor had the most eye-popping performance at the 40-yard-dash, turning in a time of 4.39 seconds.
While Taylor later told reporters he’d run as low as a 4.31 in training, he said he was pleased with his overall performance and with how he seized the opportunity.
“Coming in, I always had a chip on my shoulder because I’ve been an underdog ever since I was here. Had a great season and everything and still really wasn’t on the radar," Taylor said "So my whole thing was just to come out here and do things with that chip on my shoulder, as kind of that unknown. ...
“I feel like there’s great things coming for me in the future.”