The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

April 21, 2011

Wright solid candidate to replace Neild

MORGANTOWN — Perhaps the most gaping hole left by graduation in the West Virginia defense right in the middle, where Chris Neild anchored the line. He was 300 pounds of trouble for any offense, his presence requiring double teams on every play, triple teams on some.

The result of that was fewer people to block on J.T. Thomas at linebacker or slip off and help delay Bruce Irvin as he terrorized quarterbacks from defensive end. He made running to the inside a near impossibility while the Mountaineers had the speed to cut down runs to the outside.

The defensive coaching staff spent a lot of time during the off-season trying to figure out what to do to replace Neild, arriving at a decision to move Jorge Wright from defensive tackle to nose guard, where he would battle Josh Taylor for the spot.

To date it has been a successful conversion for Wright, one of the most surprisingly interesting players for WVU and, it is beginning to seem, one of the best.

In many ways he cracks all the stereotypes, beginning with the idea that players who come to WVU out of Miami often have troubled backgrounds and academic problems.

Wright is not only personable, but he is extremely bright, although there are people who might question why anyone would want to bang heads with a center and guard on almost every play of every game, simple math saying that those two-on-one odds make life quite challenging.

So who is Jorge Wright Jr. how did he arrive at this point in life?

“He came to school when he was very young, 16. He grew up here,” said Bill Kirelawich, the demanding veteran defensive line coach. “As he got older, he matured on the field and his outlook got better.”

Sixteen is terrible young to be thrown into a major college football program, even as a redshirt.

Wright was so young because he had skipped a grade in high school, a strange move in an era where many kids are being held back by coaches and parents so that they can be more physically mature by the time they play.

“My mom wanted me to get a head start on life,” Wright explained. “I had an ability to go to college early, so I took it.”

If you are getting the idea that this is not the typical inner city Miami household run by Ellen and Jorge Wright Sr., you are right. Ellen Wright is a superintendent in the Dade County school system and they demand a lot out of their children.

 “There was always a bar set up high,” Wright said. “Me and my little sister always competed to see who could make our mother happiest.”

It isn’t always easy, no matter what the upbringing, for a teens to follow the right path as there are temptations always jumping out from behind rocks and trees.

“When you have a good mother and good surroundings around you, temptations can’t break you,” Wright said.

And so it was that he arrived at WVU a year or two earlier than many of his classmates and as much five or six years younger than some of his teammates, but that did not prove to be a problem.

“I fit it,” he said. “Since the ninth grade I was always younger than everyone else. It was the same thing in the transition to college.”

Besides, he noted, “I never looked 16, just like I don’t look 20 now.”

“To me, it’s pretty much the same thing,” he said. “If you don’t put in time, you don’t get the results you want. If you come here and be lazy in practice, lazy in the weight room, lazy in the film room, you’re not going to do good. If you don’t study, don’t do your homework, you won’t get grades.”

The coaches had him at tackle until Neild left.

“He’s played backup at tackle a couple of years and for Coach Kirlav and [defensive coordinator Jeff] Casteel to see something in him and move him to tackle says something about him,” said starting defensive end Julian Miller. “Those are big pads to fill. To get recognition from the coaches, to have them say we want you to be that next guy, it has to be an honor,”

He hasn’t let Kirelawich down to date.

“I still don’t think we’ve seen the finished product yet. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface. He is going to be be a very, very good football player,” Kirelawich said. “Is in that class with Neild right now? No. But he might be. I’m not going to throw any roses in his path. He’s got a lot to learn. He’s doing good for right now.”

 Wright understands that.

“To be good it takes a lot of confidence and listening to your coach. If you do what Kirlav says, you’ll be all right. You can’t do things your own way. Everything is tied to a string, part of the same defense. If you try to play your own way, it won’t work,” he said.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • LINDLEY COLUMN: Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.

    July 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five major sports topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos