York Comprehensive’s Lee Wright was named the 2012 Charlotte Touchdown Club’s Donnie Shell High School Defensive Player of the Year on Monday night at the group’s meeting. Since 1997, the Touchdown Club has doled out the award to Charlotte area high school football players who excelled in scholarship, sportsmanship, leadership and citizenship. York’s athletic department receives a $1,000 honorarium in Wright’s name.
“That’s big,” Wright said. “To be the best defensive player in North and South Carolina, that’s a big accomplishment.”
Wright knew he was one of several finalists for the award and found out he’d won when he arrived at the event in downtown Charlotte and saw the program.
The senior linebacker, who has a 3.7 grade point average, had quite a senior season for the Cougars, racking up 140 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions – three of which he returned for touchdowns. He also had six punt or kickoff returns that went for touchdowns, but his defensive production, in his first season primarily playing that side of the ball, was especially impressive.
After rushing for over 1,800 yards as a junior running back, Wright voluntarily shifted to defense to help the Cougars.
“Lee Wright is as good a defensive player as we have coached,” said York coach Bobby Carroll, who accompanied Wright to the banquet along with several defensive coaches and the player’s parents, Lewis and Mary Wright.
“How many kids rush for 1,800 yards and then ask to be moved to play defense? Shows his unselfishness and his commitment to winning. We are extremely proud of Lee and we are going to miss him dearly.”
Wright, who will represent South Carolina in the Shrine Bowl next week, was honored alongside some of college football’s best players at the Bronko Nagurski Award ceremony.
The trophy is given to the nation’s best defensive college football player, and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o took home the hardware, staving off the likes of former South Pointe standout and current South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and Georgia sack master Jarvis Jones.
Hanging out with those guys during the banquet was a memorable experience. Maybe Wright, who’s getting serious recruiting interest from Toledo and Notre Dame, among others, could return to the banquet as a college player too.
“Oh yeah,” he said.