Luke Kuechly is beginning the process of starting his football career all over again.
The former Boston College two-time All-American middle linebacker was the featured attraction for the 34 NFL personnel from 24 teams that attended pro day yesterday under the dome at Alumni Stadium.
On Jan. 5, Kuechly opted to forgo his senior season at BC and declare eligibility for the NFL draft. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound tackling machine is projected to be a top-15 pick.
Kuechly eagerly anticipates the challenge of appearing at the bottom of an NFL depth chart and proving himself.
“You have to start again at the bottom, kind of like my freshman year (at BC),” said Kuechly. “It’s one of those things where you take in everything kind of like a sponge, you have to soak up what everybody is telling you. You have to talk to the older guys who have been through it before and base it on that. But yup, it is back down to the bottom again and I’ll have work my way back up.”
Since leaving BC, Kuechly has worked full time toward securing a favorable position on draft boards. He enrolled at the IMG Academy football program in Bradenton, Fla., to enhance his standing. Kuechly also made an impressive showing at the NFL combine in February.
Pro day at BC amounted to combine lite for Kuechly, who was clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a time he was pleased with.
Kuechly was paired with linebackers and defensive ends that included Eagles pass rusher Max Holloway, a fifth-year senior who also bypassed his final season of eligibility.
“I’m just here to keep working,” said Kuechly. “What you need to do is go out there and do drills and do them as best you can. Since the combines I’ve been working on different things that I anticipated doing out here. It was just another good opportunity. I thought it went pretty good and all, it was position drills.
“There was a lot of stuff I had done before or variations of things that I had done before. Overall it went pretty smoothly.”
Philadelphia Eagles scout Michael Bradway and linebackers coach Mike Caldwell conducted the final exercise in lateral footwork and open-field running, two areas Kuechly excelled in during game situations.
Kuechly, who will be in Carolina for a tryout tomorrow, didn’t think Caldwell’s volunteer work on Pro Day was an indication that he was on Eagles coach Andy Reid’s wish list.
“(Caldwell) gave me a call maybe last week and said he was coming up and he took us through the workouts out there,” said Kuechly. “The stuff went smooth and I talked to him afterward just to say ‘What’s going on?’ ”
Kuechly started 12 games and led the nation in tackles (191) for the second straight season. He set school and Atlantic Coast Conference records for career tackles with 532, just 14 shy of the NCAA record. He capped his junior year by winning the Lombardi, Nagurski, Lott IMPACT and Butkus awards.
“They can teach you so much but some of the times you’ve just got to go out there and play football,” said Kuechly. “My goal is to get to the football.”