FAYETTEVILLE - Deatrich Wise Jr. was always the most dangerous defensive lineman on the Arkansas roster. The combination of his size, strength and speed are unmatched. His coach, Bret Bielema, said Wise "looks like an SEC player is supposed to look."

FAYETTEVILLE - Deatrich Wise Jr. was always the most dangerous defensive lineman on the Arkansas roster. The combination of his size, strength and speed are unmatched. His coach, Bret Bielema, said Wise "looks like an SEC player is supposed to look."


It only just took a while for all those things to come together.


Wise has 3 1/2 sacks over Arkansas’ last two games, both wins. He leads the team with 4 1/2 and tackles-for-loss with seven. All that after serving most of the season in spot-duty, sometimes only just cracking double-digit snaps-played totals in a game.


Wise was distracted. All the projection in the world wouldn’t matter if the focus never arrived, Bielema said. The junior was the listed starter at defensive end when spring practice began, he was dealing with fraternity happenings and was on the track team. Bielema compared all Wise’s goings-on to a dinner plate, so overstuffed things were spilling off the edge.


Wise was demoted from his rush-end spot to a reserve duty. Later, in the fall, he was moved to a back-up job at the other end, behind JaMichael Winston, a completely different-styled player.


Then something clicked, his position coach, Rory Segrest said.


"In terms of Deatrich, he’s had his ups and downs," Segrest said. "Got banged up a few weeks ago, kind of tweaked his ankle a little bit. He’s kind of getting back to 100 percent now. He’s doing a great job coming off the edge. We thought we had a great matchup there with him and he made some plays."


Wise is still a reserve, but at this point it’s only a technicality. He doesn’t find himself at the bottom of the team’s eight- or nine-man defensive line rotation anymore.


That is about the only thing that’s changed. His extracurriculars haven’t. And he is fully aware of his potential. After the team’s win at LSU last week, Wise said, "…when you do the things coach tells you to do and you’re blessed with talent like I am, that’s what happens."


He grinned when asked about it Wednesday. Nothing changed.


"I feel like in basketball when the big man runs the floor and they give him the ball to make that dunk," he said. "I just opened my ears more and actually listened to what they were talking about and just applied it more to my game and stuff like that."