It may turn out to be the biggest break of Deatrich Wise's career.
That would be the broken hand that the former Carrollton (Texas) Hebron standout suffered early last season that ended his true freshman campaign after just a few plays on the field.
"Actually breaking my hand is probably one of the best things that I have ever done," Wise said. "Now I have a new coaching staff with a new game plan and I ended up getting bigger and stronger as I went on."
Wise certainly used his down time wisely as he has gone from a 235-pound signee to know being a chiseled 275-pound redshirt freshman.
"I think I have come along tremendously well," Wise said. "I've gained some weight. I was 260 in the spring and now I am 275. Now I am more suited to play the run and my bull rush is more effective as well."
He showed off that frame, his pass-rushing skills and his improved run defense in Saturday's scrimmage in which he had six tackles.
"Individually, I think I did pretty well and as a team I thought we did great," Wise said. "There are still a lot of things that we need to work on and adapt to, but we'll do that."
Wise is one of four redshirt freshman defensive ends backing up starters Chris Smith and Trey Flowers.
He joins Jamichael Winston, Brandon Lewis and Taiwan Johnson – who is also spending time at defensive tackle as well.
"Deatrich came into fall camp out of spring probably being the third and he is still having a nice camp," Partridge said. "But Jamichael Winston and Brandon Lewis have really picked their game up and closing the gap. Those three have really become one group and it is going to be a fun battle to continue to watch."
Wise notes that Smith and Flowers have been very helpful to the youngsters.
"Chris and Trey have both helped the guys with their leadership – me, Brandon, Jamichael and Taiwan," Wise said. "They have been really encouraging. They are not just thinking of themselves. They are thinking of the team."
Wise has certainly benefitted from new strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert, who has helped his numbers in the bench press go from 315 to 365 and from 475 in the squat to 555.
"I feel bigger and faster and stronger," Wise said. "Coach Herb has a great program. All of his players from quarterback to kickers to O-lineman to skill guy have all gotten bigger and stronger."
Wise does believe getting some plays in last season will be beneficial.
"I won't have any first-time jitters and I already have a feel for the speed of the game," Wise said. "It's a win-win thing for me."
Older And Wiser
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