His routine is different now. Instead of class time at Boston College, there are scheduled workouts and drills each day at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Instead of wondering about next season at BC and how to make things better as one of the cocaptains, linebacker Luke Kuechly is focused on next month in Indianapolis, where the NFL combine will be held and the pecking order for first-round draft picks will be largely determined.
Kuechly is in a different world now. He has moved from college to the next level, with the NFL as the goal.
Though he has passed up his senior season, the 6-foot-3-inch, 238-pounder is conducting business the same way he dealt with football: relentlessly.
“I’m down here doing what Anthony [Castonzo, former BC tackle] and Mark [Herzlich, former BC linebacker] did,’’ said Kuechly by phone from Florida. “I’m just working out, getting ready for the combine.’’
Both Herzlich, who is now with the New York Giants as they prepare to play in the NFC Championship game, and Castonzo, who was a first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts last spring, worked out at IMG in preparation for their NFL careers.
Kuechly had very little left to prove at BC in terms of individual accomplishment.
He averaged 15.9 tackles per game last season, with his total of 191 falling two short of the NCAA record.
In only three seasons, Kuechly recorded 532 tackles, the second-highest total by an FBS player since the NCAA began compiling individual tackling statistics in 2000.
Until his string ended in a 24-17 win over Miami in the Eagles’ final game of the season, Kuechly had recorded double-digit tackles in 33 straight games.
He leaves BC as a two-time consensus All-American, and a winner of the Butkus, Lombardi, and Lott awards, symbolic of defensive excellence.
After taking a few weeks over the holidays to ponder his future, Kuechly announced almost two weeks ago that he was skipping his final year at BC. He has been projected to go in the first round of April’s NFL draft, anywhere from seventh to 21st.
BC is in the final phases of recruiting, with national letter of intent day closing in Feb. 1. The Eagles lost one verbal commitment when highly regarded running back Akeel Lynch, a 6-foot, 205-pound prospect from Athol Springs, N.Y., decommitted. He is now being chased by Oklahoma, Iowa, and Penn State. Two recruits - wide receiver Marcus Grant from Carver, who graduated from Lawrence Academy and transferred from Iowa, and wide receiver/defensive back Joel Zoungrana from Montreal - are already enrolled at BC.Mark Blaudschun can be reached at email@example.com.