Friday, March 24, 2006

Hokie Football: 2006 Recruit #5 - Matt Wright

Today the Collegiate Times continued their weekly series focusing on next year's football recruits, with today's feature telling the story of Phoebus High School standout Matt Wright, who comes to Tech as an addition to the Hokies' linebacker corps.

Overall, Matt was a joy to work with and was nothing but a class act. I truly see this young man as a vital addition to Tech's dwindling defensive unit, and I wish him the best of luck in the years to come. With that being said though, all you Hokie fans and haters out there alike, Tech's got another 757 prospect comin' to the 'Burg, so watch out now.

2006 Hokie Recruit: Matt Wright
By Andrew Kinney
Senior Staff Writer
March 24, 2006

Perhaps no other athletic program at Virginia Tech exemplifies the concept that a good defense is a good offense better than the men's football team, whose defensive unit has earned its reputation for shutting down its opposition and turning its opponents' mistakes into points on the scoreboard.

Last year was no exception for head coach Frank Beamer and his team, as the Hokie defense finished ranked second in the nation, giving the team much success throughout the majority of the year.

Saying goodbye, however, to several seniors who served as key defensive contributors has been no easy task to cope with for Virginia Tech, but in looking at next season, the coaching staff seems to have addressed the key issue of personnel losses on the defensive side of the ball. Ten fresh, new faces for Virginia Tech's defense will come to play in the fall, one of whom will be standout linebacker Matt Wright.

Wright, ranked as the No. 2 linebacker in the state of Virginia by www.rivals.com, will be arriving to Blacksburg in the fall as a graduate of Phoebus High School, located in Hampton of Virginia's Tidewater area.

To Hokie fans, this area should sound extremely familiar, as it served as the same talent base for ex-Hokie quarterbacks Marcus and Michael Vick, as well as Hokie standouts Jimmy Williams, Nathaniel and Xavier Adibi, Chris Ellis and Wright's brother, D.J. Parker.

"The Tidewater area has been such a big talent base for recruiting," Wright said. "At Landstown you had (Percy) Harvin, and if you look at Hampton just down the road, with (Todd) Nolen, who's coming up there next year, the area just has a lot of great talent."

Much of the Hokies' successful recruiting in the Tidewater region can be accredited to Virginia Tech's Jim Cavanaugh, who in addition to his title as the Hokies' strong safety and outside linebacker coach, served as the man responsible for recruiting Wright.

"I first started getting recruited when I was in eighth grade, and when I met coach Cavanaugh, he gave me a very good first impression," Wright said. "He had a good sense of humor, but was very straightforward. I found him to be an honest person, and I respected him for being a good person on and off the field. I knew he was somebody that you could trust. A lot of times when it comes to recruiting coaches, you can't really trust them because they just tell you a lot of things just to get you to go to their school, but I knew coach Cavanaugh wasn't going to do that to me."

Cavanaugh, who will most likely be coaching Wright in the fall, spoke of several attractive qualities regarding Wright when reflecting on the high school senior's recruitment.

"I really liked his combination of size and speed and his ability to make tackles," Cavanaugh said. "To find a kid of his size who is that active and has such an ability to make plays, really is no easy feat. I think he will fit really well into our defense. With Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, we have two very good linebackers, and we are looking for young backups so when those two graduate, somebody will be able to fill in and be ready to go."

In mentioning Adibi, Wright attributed the redshirt-sophomore linebacker to being a form of inspiration while playing at the high school level. Along with the two playing the same position, the duo comes from the same area having both attended Phoebus High.

"I look up to Xavier," Wright said. "I grew up with him. He was kind of a big brother to me; he was always direct and had a good work ethic on the field. He is a good character to follow, and it's going to be fortunate for us to play on the same team next year, hopefully he'll be able to help me out."

Standing at a size of 6'2" and 215 pounds, perhaps the only thing more impressive than Wright's imposing stature are his football credentials. After starting all four years at Phoebus under head coach William Dee, Wright was named the Peninsula District Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to being elected to Virginia's first-team AAA all-state by the Associated Press as a linebacker.

Dee, when asked about his defensive standout, had only good words to say in describing the talent and skills belonging to the future Hokie.

"Matt's athletic, and he's got speed, which is what it's all about in Tech's scheme," Dee said. "He has a great work ethic, and he knows what it takes to develop and work hard. He's a good kid, and coming from a good family, he should have a lot of good support up there. I think he will fit in fine."

As a junior, the Phoebus standout was named all-district, all-metro, first-team all-region and second-team all-state after catching 25 passes for 310 yards and six touchdowns, along with making 121 tackles, 10 sacks and three interceptions. With those types of numbers, one might expect such an athlete to be quite arrogant, yet Wright makes it a point to be humble.

"I don't like to toot my own horn, but as far as on the field, I bring leadership, with lots of intensity because I'm a hard worker," Wright said. "I stay humble, and when I'm out there, I'm going to give it my all, all the time. I'm out there to make plays, and I'm just going to try to make this team more successful."

Along with being offered a scholarship to Virginia Tech, Wright received scholarship offers from a long list of other universities, including schools such as Marshall, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and in-state rival Virginia. Following his commitment and letter of intent to Tech on Jan. 22, Wright credited numerous aspects about Virginia Tech to influencing his decision.

"Once I got to Blacksburg, I just loved the atmosphere and the vibe I got once I was on campus," Wright said. "I did my research on the other schools, and they just didn't have the adequate resources for me. Tech was just the best school for me. It had everything - coming from the football, academic, and environmental standpoints. Plus in addition to that, I got family up there. All the other schools up there were very successful schools, but it all boiled down to the resources Virginia Tech had."

Family appeared to be a key contributor in influencing Wright's decision, as his older brother, sophomore D.J. Parker, currently attends Virginia Tech and serves as a starter in the team's secondary.

"Playing with D.J. did have a big part to do with (my decision)," Wright said. "We played in high school together for two years. I got to share that experience and I'm proud of that because in youth leagues, we never got to play together on the same team, so this experience should be a great thing. I'll have a chance to play with my brother again, and this is good because we work well together on the same team. He'll be able to help me because he already knows the ropes. He's somebody that if I need anything or need any help on or off the football field, I can ask him. He'll be there for me."

It is safe to say that Parker will be one of the many supporters in the fall for Wright, as the future freshman arrives at a place he says he has visited several times before and considers to be "a home away from home."

As graduation, summer workouts and the eventual fall semester approach for Wright, the Phoebus senior looks forward to arriving in Blacksburg and what will undoubtedly serve as a beginning of a fresh new start.

"I've been on campus so many times, it seems like I already go there," Wright said. "I'm very excited to be coming to Virginia Tech. I look at it as a blessing. Everybody knows about the school's history, it's so deep. For me to be able to be a part of this prestigious program is saying something. I just want to come up there and take things to the next level and help out early."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i love tukey football