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Kansas football’s top 25 difference-makers: No. 2, DT Daniel Wise

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Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise takes off his helmet as he listens to instructions during practice on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise takes off his helmet as he listens to instructions during practice on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. by Nick Krug

Tom Keegan and I collaborated on a list of 25 potential difference-makers for the Kansas football team in 2017 and will release one each weekday leading up to the Sept. 2 season-opener vs. SEMO, at Memorial Stadium. We will list them in reverse order of how indispensable/potentially impactful they are for KU's hopes of having a more competitive season.

No one on the Kansas football roster has started more games for the Jayhawks than redshirt junior Daniel Wise (18). So the massive, fun-loving defensive tackle from Lewisville, Texas, is one of the few people in KU’s locker room who can get away with giving star defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. a hard time.

Wise pounded the interior of so many opposing offensive lines, causing so much trouble in 2016, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound tackle might say, it made Armstrong’s job that much easier on the edge.

Be honest, Daniel. Aren’t you at least partially responsible for Dorance’s success, and his Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year status?

“I let him know,” Wise responded, while laughing. “I trash-talk to him every now and then. I tell him I should get half the award. But, nah, I’m just kidding. He earned it all himself. He went out there and got all those sacks and TFL’s. He put in the work and he deserves it.”

While Armstrong racked up 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks as a sophomore, Wise made 10 takedowns in the backfield of his own while contributing three sacks, helping him land on the Associated Press All-Big 12 second team.

With two stars setting the tone at the line of scrimmage, Wise is eager to see just how productive KU’s defense can become this fall.

“Excited to see what we have and put it together, come against SEMO, our first game of the season,” Wise said. “And obviously still building. A lot more to build and a lot more to prove to people who don’t know us and people who don’t know what’s going on.”

Wise and Armstrong already have the most of the Big 12’s attention, so it’s easy for them to hold each other accountable and inspire the best out of their teammates on the defensive side of the field. What’s more, Wise and Armstrong feed off of each other, because they know the whole team needs that from them.

“It’s a brotherhood. So it’s not that hard,” Wise said. “You see your brother going through some stuff, trying to reach his goal. And that’s my brother (Armstrong), so I’m going to help him reach his goal — not only me, but he helps me, as well.”

KU football's top 25 difference-makers

25 - Quan Hampton

24 - Ryan Schadler

23 - Taylor Martin

22 - Ben Johnson

21 - Isaiah Bean

20 - Josh Ehambe

19 - Bryce Torneden

18 - Keith Loneker Jr.

17 - Dom Williams

16 - Derrick Neal

15 - Khalil Herbert

14 - Charles Baldwin

13 - Shakial Taylor

12 - Chase Harrell

11 - Joe Dineen

10 - Hasan Defense

9 - Mesa Ribordy

8 - Carter Stanley

7 - Mike Lee

6 - Hakeem Adeniji

5 - Daylon Charlot

4 - Peyton Bender

3 - Steven Sims

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