SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Boise State football program missed an opportunity to land national defensive player of the year Scooby Wright in recruiting.
Now the Broncos will have to try to stop him.
Wright was at Boise State’s high school camp the day before he committed to Arizona, he said Saturday during a Fiesta Bowl media availability. Arizona was the only FBS school to offer Wright a scholarship.
“(The Broncos) said they were going to keep evaluating me,” Wright said. “We always kept in contact, but nothing too serious.”
Wright attended the Broncos’ camp the summers before his junior and senior high school seasons because a family friend was related to a Boise State booster. Wright was trying to get some recruiting attention.
Arizona was the one school that didn’t see a “gray area,” Wright said.
“They saw what they liked,” he said. “I never looked back too much.”
Wright leads the Wildcats with 153 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and 14 sacks going into Wednesday’s Fiesta Bowl. He was named the Nagurski and Bednarik defensive player of the year.
Wright has used the recruiting snubs as fuel during his career. He’s a true sophomore who plays middle linebacker and moves to defensive end in passing situations.
“If someone tells me I’m not good enough or I can’t do something, it motivates me that much more,” he said.
I’ll have a full story on Wright in Tuesday’s newspaper.
Arizona’s 3-3-5 defense is unlike anything Boise State has seen this year.
“We’ve seen some similar schemes in our conference, but nothing quite like this with the speed they play at and just the physicality of their defense,” Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick said. “It’s going to be a huge challenge for us. It definitely helps having this much time to prepare for it.”
The Wildcats’ personnel allows them to shift players into different spots.
“Having so many DBs is kind of crazy,” Hedrick said. “They’ve got speed everywhere. You don’t really know the personnel. They sort of get in the same spots, it’s just different people. You try not to pay too close of attention to who’s where.”
Some other highlights from the day:
— Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel on the Broncos: “It’s ruined my Christmas trying to get ready for those guys.”
— Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick on bowl prep: “We've prepared really well up to this point. This week is really about polishing things up and focusing on those details.”
— Boise State junior tailback Jay Ajayi on being prepared: "Everyone on the team just has a confidence about us right now because of where we've been over the past year."
— Boise State junior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes on injured wide receiver Matt Miller: "Matt will come out of the receiver room every day and tell me, I can definitely go out there and run a route right now. I think he's making the right decision by not going out and re-injuring himself. But I think (Matt) definitely still wants to be out there.”
— Williams-Rhodes: "The only thing about surprising your parents and going home is they don't plan on your coming home, so no presents."
— Boise State junior center Marcus Henry: "The locker room after wins this year, it's been a little different. It's almost a party. Everyone is cheering, singing, screaming. Really fun."
— Henry: "In the back of everyone's mind, we want to be in that big stage playing against a really good team."
— Henry on Ajayi’s decision to go to the NFL a year early: “I was so proud of him. I came in with Jay. He’s one of my good friends. I didn’t have any other emotion other than being proud and happy for him. He’s done awesome things here so far and he’s going to do great things at the next level.”
— Arizona defensive lineman Dan Pettinato on the Wildcats’ practices: “We call it bowl camp. It’s just like fall camp. We’re working really hard.”
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