All-world sophomore linebacker from the University of Arizona Wildcats, Scooby Wright III, won the Bronko Nagurski award on Monday night. The coveted award is given to the nation’s top defensive player. Well, Scooby was just that this season, snacking on quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers alike.
It is safe to say that the 6’1″, 246-pound linebacker found some extra motivation for a variety of reasons, helping him prey on the Pac-12 in 2014. One of those motivating factors that pertains to Scooby was his recruitment. He was only considered a two-star recruit coming out of high school, and the U of A was the only FBS school to even offer him a scholarship.
Well, Scooby’s anger of being overlooked, as well as his hard work and dedication, vaulted him into an immediate impact player for the Wildcats in his freshman season a year ago. Wright started 12 games for Arizona in 2013, finishing the year with an incredible 89 total tackles.
This season, Scooby propelled himself into the limelight with a ridiculous play against the then No. 5 Oregon Ducks. Wright hunted down Heisman candidate and front-runner, Marcus Mariota, on a scramble play late in the fourth quarter in Eugene. Scooby sacked Mariota on the play and simultaneously stripped the football from his grasp with one swipe. The ball did not even hit the ground, and there was Wright celebrating with the pigskin in his hands. The remarkable play sealed the fate of the Ducks that night, and corresponded into the only loss for Oregon this season — the Wildcats prevailed, 31-24.
As for his stats in 2014, Scooby led the nation in sacks with a total of 14. Wright finished his sophomore campaign with 89 total tackles, the exact same number as his freshman year. Of the 89 tackles, he had a preposterous 27 tackles for a loss.
The No. 12 Wildcats will face the No. 21 Boise State Broncos in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve. The Mountain West Conference Champions must have their head’s on a swivel come New Year’s Eve, or the hungry Scooby Wright III will indeed have more to feast upon.
*Section Photo credit to Christian Petersen; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today Sports.