Kyi Wright is a Division One athlete. When playing in 1A at the high school level, it does not matter if it is a PIAA semifinal game; it does not take long for the Division One athletes to stand out. For Wright, it does not take a single snap. He stands at 6-foot-3, and 240 pounds according to the team and holds down the middle of the field at middle linebacker.
To put that into perspective Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the rookie sensation who made headlines recently on a national stage came into the NFL combine at 6-foot-four and 256 pounds. Keep in mind Vander Esch is four years older, and Wright still has potential to grow.
It is unknown as of now where Wright will lineup when he heads to Pitt. Wright plays quarterback and linebacker but has drawn interest at the next level as a potential tight end prospect. Wright mentioned that he has talked to Pitt coaches on both sides of the ball.
“It’s still undecided what position I am playing. I’ve talked to the offensive and defensive staff,” said Wright. However, when asked, Wright said he preferred the defensive side of the ball.
If I were recruiting Wright, I would listen to him and let him play linebacker. And, no that is not because he is one of the few people who tower over me at 6-foot-1 myself. It is because Wright is exactly what is needed from the linebacker position the way that football is heading.
The idea of Wright at tight end makes sense. He lined up out wide and blocked at times for Farrell, but also has shown a potent combination of power and speed with the football in his hands. It was clear the combination of Wright and teammate Christian Lewis had OLSH concerned that runs were going to break outside. OLSH did a solid job of attacking some of the off tackle runs early into the game.
However, that is when Farrell loaded up the box with their 240-pound quarterback who plowed ahead with multiple fullbacks to rush for 72 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns. When OLSH loaded up the box with their biggest bodies to defend that, Christian Lewis broke two runs for over 60 yards to the outside and the game got out of hand.
— Shane Lux (@PFN_Luxy) December 1, 2018
— Shane Lux (@PFN_Luxy) December 1, 2018
The ability to juke and lower the shoulder to lay a boom is a great skill set for a tight end. However, the potential is likely higher in letting him lay a boom on the defensive side of the ball.
While Wright is a quarterback who has not played tight end, it is tough to say that him being raw at the position is a fair argument for him to play linebacker. He had opportunities to block, as the team ran wildcat and isolated him by running to his side to show off those abilities.
On top of that, he is still considered raw as a linebacker. In 1A football, he is bigger than some of the offensive linemen he is taking on. With him being a known commodity in a small pond, teams are going to do whatever they can to avoid him. Wright is still raw in some of his diagnoses and gap discipline, and also had a few occasions of struggling to disengage from blocks against OLSH.
Still, he did come in and make some strong finishes in run support, and while he is going to be raw at either position at the next level, the upside he shows at linebacker makes it much more appealing than offense.
As teams avoided Wright, that became hash to hash. OLSH has a strong-armed quarterback and made sure to play outside the hashes in their passing game. They avoided Wright in that regard, and with a few issues against the run Wright finished with just five tackles and a pass deflection.
However, when he made the tackles, it was easy to understand why he should continue to play football on the defensive side of the ball. His run and chase ability is going to be a commodity.
He often made his tackles getting out into open space by chasing down skill players and beating them to their spot. For how big he is, you do not see players win that consistently at getting to the edge. He also plays fluidly in open space. He is raw in coverage as well, but you are investing in the fluidity at that size.
This is what you are looking for in modern football linebackers. Teams are spreading the football out much more and getting the ball into skill players hands in space. To have the size of a linebacker, but also be able to get to the outside and run with tight ends and running backs is going to become a valued commodity.
Yes, he has some ironing out that needs to be done to commit to him on the defensive side of the ball. However, that is where Pitt should be investing their time rather than looking to convert him to another position he is unfamiliar with. If they do, there is a lot of upside that they can uncover.