MAJOR WRIGHT: Saying Yes Will Be Easy

SAN ANTONIO, TX — The hard part of the recruiting process won’t be that moment when Major Wright picks up the telephone to call some fortunate college coach to say he’ll be playing football at his school next year. Saying yes, he knows, is rather easy. The hard part is when he calls the other three coaches to tell them the answer is no.

“Saying no … that’s the hardest part of the recruiting thing,” said Wright Sunday afternoon after checking in at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. “I’ve established relationships with these coaches and they all have great programs that are rising and all the coaches have the kind of program that anyone would want to play for.

“You know that you’re going to let somebody down, somebody that’s been recruiting you all the time and getting to know you, your coaches and your family. These coaches are the final ones because they’ve gotten to know me best and I like them a lot and I like their schools.”

Wright has narrowed his choices to four schools: Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Miami. No matter the choice, he feels he can’t go wrong and that is exactly what complicates this entire decision-making process.

He hasn’t had that moment when he knows in his heart exactly what the right place is so things are pretty much a tossup. He’s got a full month before National Signing Day to make a decision and right now he’s thinking that he may take the entire month to make it.

“There’s nothing easy about this,” he said. “I really can’t tell you which one I favor or which one that I like the best because there are things I like about all of them. I have a lot of thinking that I have to do. I really can’t go wrong with the decision since they’re all four great schools with great coaches.

“Sometimes I wish there was a shortcut but there isn’t. I’ll pick one school and I’ll have to call the other coaches and tell them no. I don’t look forward to that day, not at all.”

Ask him about Urban Meyer, Jim Tressell, Charlie Weiss or Randy Shannon and he bursts into a commercial that could sell anyone on attending Florida, Ohio State, Notre Dame or Miami. He’s sold on all four coaches. What will probably tilt the answer one way or another is the players that he will be playing with at the next level. He admits that he’s paying attention to who’s committing to which school.

“It’s a 50-50 deal, coaches and players,” he said. “You want to go somewhere that you love the coach, but you also want to go somewhere that you know the guys you’re coming in with are guys you can count on in tough times.

“It’s great to go to a school that has great players coming in with you, guys that you know you’ll live and die with on the field for four years. You want to go where you’ll be able to count on guys off the field, too. That’s just as important. I want to go to a school that has a great class coming in.”

With Miami so close to his home, the Hurricanes have the advantage of being the local school that’s near to everything and everybody he holds dear. The closeness doesn’t put Florida, Ohio State or Notre Dame at a disadvantage, though.

“Distance really won’t be a big deal for me,” he said. “Wherever I go my family will be able to travel any time. I know my family will love to go see the places where I’m going to be playing.”

The best game he saw during the fall was Ohio State and Michigan.

“Crazy,” he said. “Ohio State and Michigan was just crazy. The game was great. That was the best game that I saw.”

For campus atmosphere, he says that it’s a tossup between Florida and Ohio State.

“I was there for Florida’s homecoming game and it was crazy there,” he said. “It was so loud that I had a friend sitting beside me and I’d look at him and say something and he couldn’t hear me. I like the on campus atmosphere whether it’s game day or just a day at school at Florida and I like it at Ohio State, too. I’ve been able to see more of those two schools.”

On the field, Wright has a reputation as the total enforcer in the middle of the field. He’s a big hitter that can change a game with one devastating hit. Opponents tend to avoid the middle of the field after Wright clobbers an opponent so hard that a helmet and mouthpiece go flying.

He loves a good hit, but says the time to appreciate hammer time is in the film room on Monday.

“When I’m on the field, I try to concentrate and stay focused instead of thinking about the big hit,” he said. “You can’t make every hit a big hit. You’ve got a job to do and that comes first but it’s more fun if you can get your job done and make a big hit, too.

“When I have the most fun about a big hit is in the film room on Monday when everybody is just watching and they keep running the play over and over. That’s when you really think you got a good lick.”

When he does make his final college choice, chances are the coach that gets the thumbs up will be the one that most resembles his high school coach, George Smith.

“He’s a great guy, a great coach on and off the field,” he said. “He’s someone you can always depend on. I want to play for a coach that’s a lot like him.

He has a strong personal relationship with Smith and he’d like to have the same thing with his college coach.

“Knowing that the coach will be there when my family is not there is important to me,” he said. “I want a coach that’s going to be there when I need him. I’ve still got some growing to do and I need to have a coach there that’s going to help me that way.”

He’s got a month to think about it, but he laughs and shakes his head when he thinks about signing day.

“Man that’s going to be tough,” he said. “I know one coach will be happy, but I really hate thinking about making that call to the other coaches. That’s hard, man. That’s real hard.”

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.