Arizona Football

Wright second Arizona Wildcats defensive player to win Bronko Nagurski Trophy

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SCOOBY SNACKS?
— Bronko Nagurski Trophy, top defensive player, winner
— Lombardi Award, top linebacker/lineman, finalist (Wednesday)
— Chuck Bednarik Award, top defensive player, finalist (Thursday)
— Walter Camp Player of the Year, finalist (Thursday)

How fitting that Scooby Wright was born at the height of the Desert Swarm era on Aug. 28, 1994, four days after Sports Illustrated’s preseason edition that rated Arizona No. 1 and labeled the Wildcats “Rock Solid” on its cover hit the newsstand.

One of the founding fathers of the Desert Swarm — nose tackle Rob Waldrop — in 1993 was the first winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy awarded to the nation’s top defensive player.

Wright, with his rags to riches story on the football field, would have fit right in with Waldrop, Tedy Bruschi, Brant Boyer, Sean Harris, Tony Bouie and the gang. Dick Tomey called his unsung players, such as the largely unrecruited Bruschi, as a “Team of Joes”.

Wright goes by the name “Two-Star Scooby” because of how he was overlooked during the recruiting process. Monday night, he was deemed the top defensive player in the country by earning the Nagurski Trophy.

Wright leads the Pac-12 in tackles and is second in the nation with 153 tackles. His 28 tackles for lost yardage (second-most in school history) and six forced fumbles lead the country. He has 14 sacks, third-most in the Pac-12 and the nation.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was the keynote speaker for the Nagurski Trophy ceremony in Charlotte, N.C. The Crimson Tide’s Landon Collins, a five-star safety out of Louisiana in 2012 (the same year Wright was a senior in high school), was one of the Nagurski candidates.

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BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY WINNERS

Year Winner Pos. Yr. School
1993 Rob Waldrop NT Sr. Arizona
1994 Warren Sapp DT Jr. Miami (FL)
1995 Pat Fitzgerald LB Jr. Northwestern
1996 Pat Fitzgerald LB Sr. Northwestern
1997 Charles Woodson CB Jr. Michigan
1998 Champ Bailey CB Jr. Georgia
1999 Corey Moore LB Sr. Virginia Tech
2000 Dan Morgan LB Sr. Miami (FL)
2001 Roy Williams S Jr. Oklahoma
2002 Terrell Suggs LB Jr. ASU
2003 Derrick Strait CB Sr. Oklahoma
2004 Derrick Johnson LB Sr. Texas
2005 Elvis Dumervil LB Sr. Louisville
2006 James Laurinaitis LB Soph. Ohio St.
2007 Glenn Dorsey NT Sr. LSU
2008 Brian Orakpo LB Sr. Texas
2009 Ndamukong Suh DT Sr. Nebraska
2010 Da'Quan Bowers DT Jr Clemson
2011 Luke Kuechly LB Jr. Boston College
2012 Manti Te'o LB Sr. Notre Dame
2013 Aaron Donald DT Sr. Pittsburgh
2014 Scooby Wright LB Soph. Arizona

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Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Jim Hoffman, Tony Bouie and Brandon Sanders  o the SI cover that hit the newsstand four days before Scooby Wright's birth

Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Jim Hoffman, Tony Bouie and Brandon Sanders on the SI cover that hit the newsstand four days before Scooby Wright’s birth


ScoobyNagurski

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Score one against the big boys for Wright, Arizona and coach Rich Rodriguez, who attended the ceremony along with his wife Rita and defensive coordinator Miles Casteel.

Wright, of Windsor, Calif., is the second sophomore to win the Nagurski Trophy. Former Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis was a sophomore when he won the award in 2006. He is the first Pac-12 player to earn the honor since ASU’s Terrell Suggs won in 2002. Wright, Waldrop and Suggs are the only conference defenders to win the Nagurski.

Wright’s parents were also on hand for tonight’s ceremony. His father, Phil, the softball coach at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College, summed up his son’s popularity this way to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat last week: “People will chase him into restrooms. I have lost my identity. I am Scooby’s dad. He gets swamped everywhere he goes in Tucson. I think he damn near could run for the governor of Arizona.”

Imagine that: Governor Scooby.

If vetoes were like sacks, nothing would get by him.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also has published articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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