Heels Enter Race for Wright

After Dave Wannstedt stepped down as Pittsburgh's head coach approximately three weeks ago, North Carolina assistant coach Allen Mogridge reached out to Marquise Wright and the Tar Heels became a player in the four-star defensive tackle's restarted recruitment.

"My interest increased in UNC when [the resignation] happened," Wright said.

That increased interest has led Wright, a 6-foot-3, 260-pounder from Paramus (N.J.) Catholic, to schedule an official visit to UNC for the weekend of Jan. 7.

"I feel like I have a strong connection with Coach ‘Mo' – he seems like a nice guy – and I have family near UNC so I'll be in familiar territory, and it's a beautiful campus from the pictures I've seen of it," Wright said. "So I just wanted to visit."

Mogridge began recruiting Wright in March, but Wright verbally committed to Pittsburgh in late June. Things picked up where they left off when the two reconnected.

"I email [Mogridge] on a daily basis," Wright said. "[We discuss] my visit and just everything – not just football. We talk about life in general."

Wright still technically considers himself a Pittsburgh verbal commitment. However, he's unsure if the Panthers, which hired Mike Haywood as Wannstedt's successor two weeks ago, are a legitimate option.

"As of right now, I'm still committed," Wright said. "But I'm probably not going to end up at Pittsburgh… I really haven't spoken to Haywood, because right now is the Dead Period. But, I'm going to take these visits and see what happens from there."

The weekend prior to the Dead Period, Wright took his first official visit to Maryland.

"The criminal justice program is awesome," Wright said. "It's a good school [and] good campus. I like the coaches, even though they might change. It's a nice place, especially for my major."

Ironically, Maryland is also going through a head coaching change. But, the Terrapins have yet to hire a replacement.

"I'm just going to watch and see what happens," Wright said. "If the coaching staff doesn't change drastically, it's a place I could see myself."

Beyond the official visit to UNC, Wright doesn't have any future official trips scheduled. However, he plans on setting up trips with Miami and Michigan State.

Wright plans to announce his intentions – whether to stick with his Pittsburgh commitment or commit elsewhere – a week before Signing Day.

"I'm looking for a home away from home," Wright said. "I'm going to look at the people, coaches, area, and the defense."

Wright's official visit to UNC will be his first to the campus.

"I'm hoping to learn more about their criminal justice program," Wright said. "I want to see what type of people they are, see how the school is, see the campus, [and] see if it's a place I could fit into."

Working against UNC is its 2011 commitment list.

"They want me as a DT," Wright said. "But having three [defensive tackles] committed doesn't sit well with me. It's something to think about."

Marquise Wright Profile


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