Rodney Wright III is part of this demographic: Being the son of a Fresno State legend and playing football for Clovis West High School in Clovis; a place where anyone with a previous Fresno State connection can fit right in.
After all, former Bulldog head coach Pat Hill had his son Zak attend and play for Clovis West during the former Bulldog safety/linebacker’s prep years. There was also the late assistant coach Dan Brown, who raised his son Travis into a highly-recruited linebacker before choosing to continue his college football career at FS. Ex-Bulldog offensive coordinator Dave Schramm has his boys Dusty and D.J. attending CWHS with Wright III right now.
The Class of 2018 prospect and the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Wright III isn’t just chasing a legacy that his father manifested on the football field, but also carrying the tradition of being the offspring of a former Bulldog while roaming around the campus known in Fresno County as “C-Dub.”
The younger Wright has picked up plenty of tips from his record-breaking father, helping explain how he’s emerged as Clovis West’s most explosive option on offense with a team-high 482 all-purpose yards through the first five games of the 2016-17 season.
“He’s been training me and motivating me. That’s my man,” Wright III said about his father. “We do a lot of speed work and hip work. We work on my power, legs, quickness, everything.”
Wright III was a toddler when his father was shattering receiving records at Bulldog Stadium with Hill coaching him up and David Carr slinging the ball in his direction. The elder Wright is revered among Bulldog fans for hauling in 91 catches for 1,331 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns during the 11-3 season in 2001 - the year that saw Fresno State grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Wright III vaguely remembers his father’s football career at FS, but here’s what he does recall:
“He was so fast. That’s what I remember the most,” Wright III said.
The former Bulldog and Arena Football League wideout not only spends his time training his son, but helps coach him as the receivers coach for Clovis West. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Wright II sees a lot of his younger self in the rising 2018 prospect.
“He’s fast, he’s tough and he wants the ball in his hands,” Wright II told Scout. “I do keep telling him that he needs to play a little lower because he’s not the biggest guy and the low man wins. If he keeps working hard in practice, I think he can be special.
“He’s a very discipline kid, he works very hard and he’s young,” Wright II continued. “I’m looking forward to seeing him grow.”
One sign of growth and maturity on Wright III’s end came in a rugged non-league battle on Sept. 23 against Fresno, Calif., Bullard High that was won by the Golden Eagles 31-27. Wright III was bottled up for most of the night. But along came a kickoff return that swung the momentum back to Clovis West’s side.
Wright III - with his team trailing 20-17 late in the third - took the ensuing kickoff, turned on his jets and took the ball down the field for a 66-yard return; his biggest gain of the night. That play later led to a 7-yard scoring run from quarterback Adrian Martinez, putting CWHS ahead 24-20.
Wright III showed no look of frustration against a Knight defense that did everything in their power to keep him out of the end zone. He told Scout that his biggest strength is his unselfish attitude.
“I play for my team. I do whatever my team asks me to do,” Wright III said. “If they want me at receiver, running back or kick returns, I do anything they need.”
Despite being a part of Fresno State royalty through his renowned father, Wright III’s recruiting period has been slow, with his dad’s alma mater being the lone school to have coaches asking about him. His father, though, gave him this advice:
“I tell him to not worry about that stuff,” Wright II said. “You just go out there and show up on Friday with the lights on and they (the college coaches) will come for you.”
In the meantime, Wright III is looking to continue to give defenses fits with his versatility, as he’s seeking to end Clovis West’s six-year section title drought.
“We’ve got to keep working like we’ve been and finish. That’s the most important thing for us,” Wright III said.