Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats linebacker Scooby Wright most decorated football player in school history

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Scooby Wright signs autographs on the red carpet leading up to the college football awards show last night on ESPN (YouTube screen shot, click on photo to access video)

Scooby Wright signs autographs on the red carpet leading up to the college football awards show last night on ESPN (YouTube screen shot, click on photo to access video)

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Forget about Scooby Snacks. This is a Scooby Smorgasbord.

In a span of four days, Scooby Wright III captured one-third of all individual national honors achieved by Arizona Wildcats football players in the history of the program.

Since Darryll Lewis won the first Arizona national honor in 1990 with the Jim Thorpe Award, the Wildcats have taken home nine national trophies at the end of a season. Wright has three of them following last night’s Chuck Bednarik Award which goes to the top defensive player in the nation.

He earned the Bronko Nagurksi Award for the nation’s top defensive player Monday and the Rotary Lombardi Award for the top lineman/linebacker in the country on Wednesday.

“I’m so ready to get back to work,” Wright told Daniel Berk of The Arizona Daily Star. “It’s been a fun week, but now it’s time to get back on the field, and I’m definitely ready.

The only defensive honor that escaped Wright was the Butkus Award that is given to the nation’s top linebacker. Wright was not one of the five finalists for that award, which went to UCLA’s Eric Kendricks.

The Butkus Award Web site states its selection committee was “comprised of football coaches, recruiters, talent scouts and journalists who study football talent yearlong.” That’s fodder for Two-Star Scoob, as he is calls himself on his Twitter account (@TwoStarScoob), to prove more people wrong heading into the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State and beyond.

Wright’s snub by major colleges coming out of high school in Windsor, Calif., is well documented. Imagine what the Cal coach feels like who told Wright he would be better off playing at Sacramento State than with the Golden Bears. The Butkus Award organizers can relate.

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A familiar sight: Scooby Wright posing with a trophy, this one the Bednarik Award he earned last night (YouTube video screen shot, click on photo to access video)

A familiar sight: Scooby Wright posing with a trophy, this one the Bednarik Award he earned last night (YouTube video screen shot, click on photo to access video)

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Parody cartoon of Scooby Doo's characters in search of why Scooby Wright was not among the Butkus Award finalists (AllSportsTucson.com graphic/Hanna-Barbera production)

Parody cartoon of Scooby Doo’s characters in search of why Scooby Wright was not among the Butkus Award finalists (AllSportsTucson.com graphic/Hanna-Barbera production)


ARIZONA INDIVIDUAL NATIONAL AWARDS

Year Name Sport Award
2014 Scooby Wright Football Chuck Bednarik Award/Rotary Lombardi Award/Bronko Nagurkski Award
2012 Kevin Parrom Men's Basketball Wilma Rudolph Award
2010 Justine Schluntz Women's Swimming & Diving NCAA Woman of The Year
2009 Lacey Nymeyer Women's Swimming & Diving NCAA Woman of The Year
2007 Antoine Cason Football Jim Thorpe Award
2007 Whitney Myers Women's Swimming & Diving NCAA Woman of the Year
2003 Jason Gardner Men's Basketball Frances Pomeroy Naismith
2002 Lorena Ochoa Women's Golf National Golf Coaches Association
2002 Jennie Finch Softball Honda Player of the Year
2001 Jennie Finch Softball Honda Player of the Yea
2000 Jenna Daniels Women's Golf National Golf Coaches Association
2000 Jason Gardner Men's Basketball National Freshman of the Year
1999 Jason Terry Men'sBasketball Sports Illustrated/CBS/Basketball Times
1998 Nancy Evans Softball Honda Player of the Year
1998 Chris McAllister Football Mosi Tatupu Award
1997 Amy Skiersz Women's Cross Country NCAA Cross Country Athlete of the Year
1997 Marisa Baena Women's Golf National Golf Coaches Association
1997 Mike Bibby Men's Basketball National Freshman of the Year
1996 Jenny Dalton Softball Honda Player of the Year
1996 Marisa Baena Women's Golf National Golf Coaches Association
1995 Laura Espinoza Softball Fast Pitch World
1994 Tanya Hughes Women's Track and Field NCAA Women of the Year
1994 Susie Parra Softball Honda Player of the Year
1994 Laura Espinoza Softball College Sports
1994 Steve McLaughlin Football Lou Groza Award
1993 Rob Waldrop Football Outland Trophy/Bronko Nagurski Award
1991 Annika Sorenstam Women's Golf National Golf Coaches Association/Golf Week
1990 Darryll Lewis Football Jim Thorpe Award
1989 Robert Gamez Men's Golf GCAA/All-American Golf Foundation
1989 Sean Elliott Men's Basketball Wooden Award/AP/NABC/CBS/Basketball Times/Basketball Weekly/Joe Lapchick Trophy
1988 Steve Kerr Men's Basketball USBWA Most Courageous Award
1980 Terry Francona Baseball Golden Spike Award/The Sporting News

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“Scooby is kind of a neat story,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said earlier this week. “(He is) a guy that plays extremely hard, loves football. He’s a strong guy with a relentless motor. He’s got good numbers because he never comes off the field. Put him at defensive end, linebacker, plays really well.”

One strong believer is former ASU quarterback Jake Plummer, who heaped praise on Wright and Arizona redshirt freshnan quarterback Anu Solomon most of the season as a Pac-12 Networks studio analyst.

“You can’t help but love watching Scooby Wright play, whether you’re a Sun Devil or not,” Plummer said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Tuesday. “If you’re a football fan, get over your hatred for the Wildcats and watch this cat play. He’s amazing.

“I find myself watching him during the whole game because the dude’s just reckless and crazy. He reminds me of Pat Tillman, a guy that played recklessly. And Scott Von der Ahe; guys on our team that were just badasses, that played hard.”

Wright has 153 tackles, including 28 for loss and 14 sacks. He also has forced six fumbles. He is one tackle-for-loss shy of earning another achievement, tying the school record set by Tom Nelson in 1968. His sacks rank third behind Tedy Bruschi’s 19 in 1993 and 14.5 in 1995.

“You can’t help but love watching Scooby Wright play, whether you’re a Sun Devil or not. If you’re a football fan, get over your hatred for the Wildcats and watch this cat play. He’s amazing. I find myself watching him during the whole game because the dude’s just reckless and crazy. He reminds me of Pat Tillman, a guy that played recklessly.”
— Former ASU quarterback Jake Plummer

Bruschi is one of four Arizona defenders in the College Football Hall of Fame. The other three are Wildcat football immortals Ricky Hunley, Chuck Cecil and Rob Waldrop.

Before Wright won the three trophies this week, Waldrop was the first and only Arizona player with more than one in a season — in 1993 with the Bronko Nagurski and Outland trophies. Hunley, Cecil and Bruschi did not win a national award.

When factoring all of the most accomplished Arizona’s sports figures, Wright is the football program’s most decorated player in its history and he belongs among the athletic department’s elite with three or more national honors. He is the only football player with three national awards, and he’s only a sophomore.

The only other athletes with three or more national honors include men’s basketball players Sean Elliott and Jason Terry. Elliott took home at least five distinguished national honors in 1988-89, including the John R. Wooden Award. Terry won three in 1998-99, including the Sports Illustrated Player of the Year honor.

If Wright has similar national-honor production next year, he can surpass Elliott as the most decorated athlete to wear the Arizona uniform, especially over a two-year period.

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ARIZONA TFL LEADERS
Tackle for lost yardage leaders in Arizona history:

TFL Player Pos. Year
29 Tom Nelson DT 1968
28 Scooby Wright III LB 2014
27.5 Tedy Bruschi DE 1993
22 Rob Waldrop NT 1992
20 Bill McKinley DE 1970

ARIZONA SEASON SACK LEADERS

Sacks Player Pos. Year
19 Tedy Bruschi DE 1993
14.5 Tedy Bruschi DE 1995
14 Scooby Wright III LB 2014
13 Steve Boadway OLB 1984
12 Danny Lockett OLB 1985
11.5 Joe Salave'a DT 1997
11 Chuck Osborne DT 1994
11 Reggie Johnson DT 1990
11 Ricky Elmore DE 2010
10.5 Ricky Elmore DE 2009
10.5 Stan Mataele DT 1986
10 Joe Tafoya DE 2000
10 Jon Abbott DT 1977
10 Chris Singleton OLB 1989

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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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