Blocking a major part of Notre Dame TE commit Brock Wright's bright future
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Brock Wright has been committed to Notre Dame for so long that there’s not much left to say about him.
The 6-foot-5, 249-pound Irish commit is recognized by every major recruiting service as one of the top tight ends in the 2017 class.
But there are still people learning about the senior from Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair. Like Deion Sanders, who, as one of the coaches for the Under Armour All-America Game, has been tasked with trying to teach his players how to cover Wright since Wednesday.
On Friday, the Pro Football Hall of Famer took a photo with Wright and shared high praise on Twitter.
“I don't know too much about this kid's high school career, but with what I've seen at the #UAallAmerica practices, he will play on Sunday 1 day,” Sanders wrote.
His tweet might not have been typo-free, but Sanders nailed the evaluation. It doesn’t take long to watch Wright play to see a successful football future ahead of him.
What separates Wright from most high school tight ends — other than his great size and frame and his ability to catch and run — are his polished blocking skills. Wright can’t quite put a finger on why he’s developed into such a good blocker other than pointing at his family.
His father, Len, played offensive line at Texas Tech, and his older brother, Brady, went on to play defensive end at Rice. Being physical became a requirement. And it turned out Brock Wright enjoyed blocking, too.
“Learning from them, I just kind of got my aggression from them,” Wright said. “My dad always worked technique with me ever since I was little. I've always been aggressive. I always like to compete hard. Blocking someone when you push them back and even get them on the ground, that's one of the most gratifying feelings."
Notre Dame offensive line commit Robert Hainsey will work with Wright on Team Highlight on Sunday in the Under Armour All-America Game. Wright’s predilection for blocking is appreciated by his current and future teammate.
“Brock’s a baller,” Hainsey said. “Finally getting to play with him, he’s the full package. He can catch, run. He’s a great blocker, which is why I like him a lot. A lot of tight ends don’t like to block that much, but Brock puts his hand in the dirt, and he likes to win and finish people like I do.”
Wright operated in a run-heavy offense at Cy-Fair. The Bobcats rushed 401 times for 2,220 yards in his senior season while only passing 198 times for 1,503 yards. Wright finished as the second-leading receiver with 30 of the team’s 130 receptions for 492 yards and four touchdowns.
The experience as a blocker should help Wright, who will enroll at Notre Dame in a couple weeks, push for early playing time.
“It's hard to find true tight ends that can do both these days,” Wright said. “Of course Notre Dame has great tight ends. They always do. But being able to do that, I think that will help me get on the field as fast as possible."
Wright is the highest-ranked Notre Dame tight end commit since Alizé Jones in 2015. Rivals ranks Wright as the top tight end in the 2017 class. 247Sports slated Jones as the top tight end in his class. The two are worlds apart in terms of their blocking ability as high school seniors.
But Wright doesn’t want to be a glorified lineman. He can be a threat in the passing game, too.
“I always feel comfortable catching passes. I've always worked that just as much as blocking. I feel like both of my games are really sound right now.”
Wright hasn’t been on the receiving end of any throws from Irish quarterback commit Avery Davis, who is on Team Armour. He’ll have plenty of time to catch passes from Davis in the future.
“I wish (we were on the same team). That would have been awesome,” Wright said. “I want him to do well, but not too well against us. I'm hoping he still looks good."
If Notre Dame’s reported hiring of Chip Long as offensive coordinator goes through, it should be good news for Wright. Long, the offensive coordinator for Memphis last season, has coached tight ends for the last seven seasons.
Wright didn’t waiver in his commitment to Notre Dame despite the departures of multiple offensive coaches in the last month. The expected hirings won’t change Wright’s outlook of the Irish, but he’s ready to get some answers and get to work.
“I'm pretty anxious. It's been a little hectic, but that's just how college football goes,” Wright said. “I’ll be up there pretty soon and in the thick of things. I'll be able to find out things a little quicker then and see how things go. I'm excited for it. It's going to be fun regardless.”
Wright will begin his career at Notre Dame almost 19 months after giving Notre Dame’s coaching staff his word in 2015. First he’ll have to get used to the weather of a South Bend winter.
“I have to learn how to layer,” Wright said.
Sounds like he’s ahead of the game. Everything else should be a continuation of the work Wright’s done in the classroom and on the football field.
"I'd really like to get acclimated in school, but also get into those workouts and start working hard, get my body in the physical shape I want to be in,” Wright said. “I'm excited to become a part of the University of Notre Dame. It's just a special place. I'm really looking forward to that."
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WHAT: Under Armour All-America Game
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
WHO: Five Notre Dame commits will play in the game — TE Brock Wright (No. 87) and OL Robert Hainsey (No. 56) on Team Highlight and QB Avery Davis (No. 3), WR Paulson Adebo (No. 11) and LB David Adams (No. 35) on Team Armour.