Kuechly actually took over for former BC linebacker Mark Herzlich in 2009 when Herzlich missed the season after he was diagnosed with cancer. The two played alongside each other in 2010, and they remained close after Herzlich went to the NFL in 2011.
And since Kuechly declared for the draft after his junior season — he's expected to be a first-round pick — he has followed a similar pre-draft process as Herzlich. Each player signed with agent Tom Condon and worked out during their respective pre-draft processes at IMG Academy in Florida.
Not bad for Kuechly, whose mentor is a cancer survivor, Super Bowl champion and fellow award-winning linebacker. That's quite the asset for him to have as he embarks on the next stage of his career.
"There were different things I learned from [Herzlich] in my freshman year," Kuechly said. "He wasn't around as much, but when he was around, I think he definitely helped me out. He sat me down before my first game on a Friday, and I actually watched film with him.
"My sophomore year, I got to play with him, and then this year, he kind of talked to me a lot about where he was after his junior year and if he was going to stay or leave because he was kind of in the same situation. I think Mark taught me a lot of things — football, obviously with the past couple months kind of transitioning, I was able to give him a call and bounce some questions off of him and kind of go from there."
Photo via Facebook/Luke Kuechly