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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Scooby Wright for Heisman?

Arizona+linebacker+Scooby+Wright+III+reaches+for+a+tackle+while+playing+against+Oregon+in+the+Pac-12+Championship+on+Friday%2C+Dec.+5%2C+2014.
Tyler Baker

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III reaches for a tackle while playing against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014.

Every college football player dreams of winning the Heisman Trophy and being a part of the close fraternity of greatness amongst some of the all-time best college players. 

For Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III, it’s a chance to accomplish something that has never been accomplished in Arizona history.  

How can Wright do the unthinkable and win the award? Perhaps the better question is, how can he be a candidate when he doesn’t play offense? 

That’s the biggest issue when considering Wright for the Heisman Trophy, because Charles Woodson is the only defensive player to ever win the award. 

Fair or not, the Heisman Trophy is an offensive biased award. Just look at the past few decades. Every Heisman winner since Woodson in 1997 has played on the offensive side of the ball. The last five winners have all been quarterbacks. 

Granted, defensive players have been nominated many times, most recently South Carolina linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and former Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Those positions don’t put points on the board and are rarely seen in top plays, thus, their positions are rarely seen battling for the award. 

With that said, there’s a feature to Wright that not even Jadeveon Clowney had, and that’s single-handedly winning games. 

Sure, Nick Wilson ran the ball like a maniac at Oregon last season, but at the end of the day, it was Wright who stripped the ball to effectively end the game, and it was 2014 Heisman winner Marcus Mariota that coughed up the ball to Wright. 

If Wright can come up with more signature moments like that one, that’s where he’ll earn his “Scooby Snacks” this season. 

Of course, Wright already has his name inscribed on a number of other trophies. 

Wright swept the nationally recognized defensive award list in 2014, earning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. 

Wright was in his sophomore campaign, focusing on replacing Jake Fischer at the middle linebacker position rather than playing for an NFL contract. This season, it looks as if he’s playing to be a first rounder. 

Wright could be the first Arizona defensive player selected in the first round since Antoine Cason in 2008.

Just from the naked eye, Wright added on at least 15 pounds of girth and looks built to play on the big stage. A Heisman Trophy would make the linebacker even more appealing at the NFL level. 

Wright had double-digit tackles in 10 games last season and had a game high 19 tackles at UCLA. Now that Wright has proven himself as one of the nations’ top defenders, more hype leads to a sharper spotlight. 

The target is very large for the junior linebacker and teams will try do what Oregon accomplished in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game, which is taking out the core of the defense. 

Oregon more or less contained Wright by focusing more attention on him, and thus encouraged Arizona to beat them with the other 10 players. It worked, considering the Arizona defense allowed the Ducks to score 51 points. 

Wright’s teammates could play a crucial role in his Heisman campaign this season by providing a higher level of play themselves.

In the end, it will be up to Wright to demonstrate his worthiness of an award that not even Tedy Bruschi was able to hoist.


Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.


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