Immediate Need Filled By Commit #20

Iowa State's torrid week of recruiting, which saw Dan McCarney's staff get a commitment from the nation's top ranked safety, continued on a fast pace Thursday night as the Cyclones picked up their 20th newcomer for the Class of 2003.

The team's lone mid-year JUCO transfer to date, Kilgore (Texas) JUCO tight end James Wright gave the Cyclones his word via phone and will send a signed national letter of intent to Ames on Friday morning.

The 6-foot-3, 254-pounder had visited ISU during the weekend of Dec. 6-7 and picked the Cyclones over scholarship offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, Texas Tech, Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee State. He will enroll in second semester classes and be eligible to participate in spring practice.

"I feel that I can trust them and that's the best place for me right now, as far as on the playing field and for my academics," said Wright, who helped Kilgore to a 6-4 mark this season competing in the Southwest Junior College Conference. "For me coming out of JUCO, yeah I made a mistake out of high school not being able to take care of my grades to play, but this is a critical part of my stage on whether I'm going to play or not. I want to play. Getting out of junior college early, I can come in and get ahead of most of the other guys and then have a chance to start."

Wright left Ames earlier this month with a positive outlook on the program, and says he picked the Cyclones for a number of reasons.

"The coaches have great attitudes," he said. "I didn't see one negative attitude from one coach around there. The players and the atmosphere are brilliant. I get along with all of the players very well, especially Kyle Knock. He showed me around. We went to his house and a couple of his buddies'. He told me that I'd fit in pretty well and that I have a chance to come in and make this position mine.

"I'm just ready to get up there, train hard, get a little faster and quicker, and go against the best. All of the people I played against in high school, I'll be doing that in the Big 12."

Losing Knock to graduation next season, ISU is set to return Kenny Segin and Brett Kellogg. Wright will be given the opportunity to earn a starting job this spring.

Wright will also be looking to prove himself as an all-around player, something he wasn't afforded in junior college. He only caught three passes as a sophomore, playing alongside fellow Division I signee Kevin Everett.

"I was in the shadow of Kevin Everett and didn't get the ball as much," Wright said. "I had three balls thrown to me all year. I was just in the shadow. Since last year I haven't dropped a ball in a game yet. I was basically like the go-to blocker. Kevin and I are cool, we don't have any problems, but I was just in his shadow. I can catch and I can block. I believe I can do both. I just never got the chance to show that I can catch the ball."

Everett has signed with Miami (Fla.) for next season.

A top 50 player in Texas coming out of Houston's Spring Woods High School, Wright was well known for his pass-catching abilities. He caught 18 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns.

He was a non-qualifier out of high school and was forced to enroll at a junior college. Wright recently attained his A.A. degree and can enroll at a Division I school.

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