Friday, May 19, 2017

Patriots notebook: Deatrich Wise feels right at home with lots of familiar Razorback faces in Foxboro

By Stephen Hewitt

May 19, 2017

FOXBORO — In his first couple of weeks in New England, Deatrich Wise has likely looked around and experienced some deja vu.

In some ways, it’s almost like he never even left Arkansas.

Wise, the former Razorbacks defensive end drafted in the fourth round by the Patriots last month, is feeling right at home as a new pro. He’s reunited with three former college teammates in Trey Flowers, Brooks Ellis and Cody Hollister.

Wise, who officially signed with the Pats yesterday, probably is closest with Ellis, a middle linebacker who was signed as an undrafted free agent. The two were teammates for four years at Arkansas, and they’ve already picked up in Foxboro where they left off.

“Every day, I try to keep up with him, he tries to keep up with me,” Wise said yesterday at Gillette Stadium. “We learn from each other. We’ll be running plays, and he’s still my middle linebacker, so we still communicate. It’s awesome seeing how he works.

“We were locker buddies, we were teammates for four years. He was behind me telling me what to do, and I was in front of him telling him the same thing, so it’s been the same.”

Wise also has reunited with Flowers, who was his teammate from 2012-14. Flowers is only going into his third season, but he’s already taken on a mentor role with Wise, who figures to play with him on the edge.

Wise has watched closely what Flowers — who had 2.5 sacks in the Patriots’ Super Bowl LI win — has done from afar and is eager to follow in his footsteps.

“I kind of say if he can do it, I can do it too type thing, you know?” Wise said.

“It’s been awesome. He’s a big mentor, and the advice he gives me is just take it one day at a time, don’t try to think ahead, stay in the now, and he’s been helping me out here and there with the plays and what I have to do, and it’s been great.

“I try to follow him a little bit, try not to be too close to him, but try and follow and see how he does and see how he works and do the same.”

As far as the pantheon of colleges Bill Belichick has grown fond of, Arkansas is no Rutgers just yet, but it’s getting close. Wise believes coach Bret Bielema’s pro-style system is one of the reasons he’s not only prepared for the NFL, but why the Patriots are developing a pipeline with the Razorbacks.

“They both teach mental toughness, they both teach things that pretty much transfer over to the league,” Wise said. “How to take care of your body, mental and physical toughness. They teach the terminology, it’s kind of the same, and it’s just how they run their whole program from the top to the bottom.

“Showing everyone respect. I don’t care if it’s a CEO, a GM, a head coach or a janitor or cafeteria lady, you treat everyone with respect. And that’s kind of what Arkansas taught me and what I’m learning here as well.

Wise said it’s a point of pride that such a high-pedigree NFL program like the Pats has continued to poach away from Arkansas.

“It shows what Arkansas does for their players,” he said. “It shows Arkansas holds itself to a high standard, and it’s exactly what the Patriots look for in their players, so they kind of bounce off each other.”

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