Context for Notre Dame commit Brock Wright's rankings slide

IRISH STEW

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The consensus on Brock Wright has cracked.

For months, the four-star tight end has been considered Notre Dame’s top committed recruit in the 2017 class. That changed recently as 247Sports dropped Wright in its rankings. This was brought to my attention today as 247Sports announced some tweaks in its Top 247 including tight end Colby Parkinson earning a five-star rating.

The other three major recruiting sites — Rivals, Scout and ESPN — still rank Wright as Notre Dame’s top 2017 commitment. All three also peg Wright as the top tight end in the 2017 class. 247Sports slates Wright as the No. 6 tight end and No. 221 overall.

Because 247Sports changes its rankings constantly instead of announcing the changes at specific times of the year, I’m not certain exactly when Wright’s drop happened. 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong said the change didn’t happen on Wednesday but he believed it had occurred in the last few months.

When I wrote my junior film study on Wright in early March, Wright was ranked as the No. 2 tight end by 247Sports. He was ranked as the No. 1 tight end when he committed last June. As recently as late April, Wright was still ranked as the top commit in Notre Dame’s class by 247Sports.

By ranking Wright sixth in the tight end class, 247Sports still projects the 6-foot-5, 238-pound Wright as a player with a bright future.

“He’s a guy we still think is a really good player, but there are a few guys that we think have more NFL upside,” Wiltfong said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t think Brock will play in the NFL, but a guy like Colby Parkinson is 6-7 and is a difference maker in every facet at tight end.

“Brock Wright’s more of a guy, in my opinion, that’s going to play attached to the line of scrimmage and help down block. He’s a guy that has good speed where you can run him vertical down the field or you can let him run a quick out and try to make people tackle his big, strong body in the open field.

“A guy like Cole Kmet has more upside and brings more versatility to Notre Dame’s offense, but they’re both really good players and are going to play a lot at Notre Dame.”

Wright has established himself as a physical blocker in a run-heavy offense at Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair. His offense completed only 94 passes on 176 attempts with three different quarterbacks throwing more than 40 passes, according to stats from the Houston Chronicle. Wright was the leading receiver with 21 catches, and he turned those into 290 yards and one touchdown. Wright showed his skills as a capable pass catcher last summer at the Irish Invasion before he committed to Notre Dame.

Wright limited his opportunities to impress national recruiting analysts by not participating in The Opening camps. That’s where Parkinson, in the eyes of 247Sports, solidified his standing as the No. 1 tight end in the 2017 class last weekend. Wright, who also didn’t take part in the Rivals Camp Series, competed in the Texas seven-on-seven state tournament with his Cy-Fair teammates over the weekend.

Wright could still convince 247Sports that they’ve made a mistake with his senior season in the rankings shuffles that lead into signing day. But for now, Wright has fallen off his perch as the consensus top tight end.

“He emerged early. He was a grown man before some of these other guys,” Wiltfong said. “But as other guys have developed, they’ve kind of passed him up a little bit. But it’s not like it’s many. Just a couple guys.”

247Sports slates Parkinson, Jake Ferguson, Josh Falo, Kedrick James and Kmet ahead of Wright. In the overall rankings, four Notre Dame commits rank ahead of Wright: offensive lineman Robert Hainsey (No. 108), linebacker David Adams (No. 151), tight end Cole Kmet (No. 218) and safety Isaiah Robertson (No. 213).

BROCK WRIGHT RANKINGS

ESPN: No. 1 TE, No. 33 overall.

Rivals: No. 1 TE, No. 47 overall.

Scout: No. 1 TE, No. 59 overall.

247Sports: No. 6 TE, No. 221 overall.

Notre Dame tight end commit Brock Wright continued his well-rounded play as a junior. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)