There’s a reason Anthony ‘Scooby’ Wright plays so hard: the chip on his shoulder. The Bay area native was only a two-star prospect in high school. Top-tier college football didn’t seem to be a viable option. So, he trained. He worked harder than ever and earned a linebacker position at Arizona. But the thing is, he didn’t just play — he excelled. Using those doubters as motivation, he proved his place as one of the best linebackers in the country. It would have been easy for Wright to just quit on his dreams, but that’s not how he was brought up.
“My dad was really influential to my career,” he said. “He taught me that work ethic can make up for a lot of stuff that you don’t naturally have.”
The linebacker was a playmaker from his first snap with the Wildcats, but his true breakout season came during his sophomore year. He had 164 tackles, and 29 tackles for losses, and 14 sacks. Wright was named the nation’s best defensive player three times over — winning the Chuck Bednarik, Bronko Nagurski, and Rotary Lombardi.
His 2015 junior year was set to be more of the same until the injuries forced him to miss all but three games. Despite it being somewhat of a lost season, Wright kept fighting to get back on the field. It paid off when he got the all clear right before Arizona’s appearance in the New Mexico Bowl.
In a spot where most players wouldn’t want to risk further injury before the draft, Wright was only focused on helping his team. Oh, and dominating (he had 15 tackles and two sacks in the Wildcat win.)
But if you ask any Arizona teammate what makes Wright so great, you’ll start to see that’s just who he is: a leader.
“I’m not much of a loud person,” Wright said. “But if someone needs to be talked to, I’ll definitely voice my opinion and let them know what’s going on. But I prefer to lead by example.”
So, as he gets ready for the NFL Draft and his rookie year, who does his game compare to in the pros?
“I would say Clay Matthews or Zach Thomas,” Wright said.
That’s some outstanding company. But with his elite work ethic and drive, nothing is out of reach.