At this time last year Brock Wright looked like a lock for The Opening Finals.
Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 tight end on Scout.com before his junior year at Cy-Fair High School outside Houston, Wright had the profile of a virtual automatic bid to the summer showcase at Nike. But the 6-foot-4, 245-pound athlete never intended to push for The Opening because it conflicted with something bigger, at least in his home state.
Knowing the Texas 7-on-7 Championship was set for the same weekend as The Opening, Wright passed on Oregon to stay local.
“I realized I’d much rather stay back and win a state championship with my friends than go off and do some camp that really didn’t mean that much to me,” Wright said. “Football is the biggest thing in Texas. And when there’s not fall ball, 7-on-7 fills the void for us lonely football players.”
Cy-Fair lost in the second round of the Division I Championship bracket to John Tyler, 40-39. The Woodlands took the title, which happens to be Cy-Fair’s opening week opponent on Aug. 26.
If Wright couldn’t use the weekend to lift a trophy, he at least managed some networking by connecting with Irish quarterback commit Avery Davis of Cedar Hill High School near Dallas. It was the first meeting between quarterback and tight end, although they’re both part of the commitments’ group chat that’s expanded by five ’17 pledges in the past month.
Wright, who plans to enroll early and will likely take his official visit to The Echoes awards show after the season, didn’t know many of the commits before they came on board. Introductions haven’t taken long.
“Most of the time somebody is connected to the new commits,” Wright said. “Our class is already close, has good chemistry starting off. And if we don’t know them, we get the number as fast as possible. The kinds of kids that go to Notre Dame, those are kids with a similar mindset. It makes things easy.”
Wright was an early adopter within Notre Dame’s class that sits at No. 4 in the Scout.com Team Rankings behind Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama. The second commitment in the class, Wright has been Irish for more than a year. That’s let him get comfortable with the staff, specifically tight ends coach Scott Booker, and watch this class come together from a distance.
The Irish went nearly six months between ’17 commitments from Cole Kmet (early October) to Davis (mid-March). Now the Irish are rolling through recruiting, which meant Wright paid at least some attention to The Opening when Notre Dame landed four-star athlete C.J. Holmes and four-star offensive lineman Robert Hainsey.
Wright even tweeted out a picture of his television as Hainsey made his announcement.
“For the longest time is was just Dillan (Gibbons), Josh (Lugg), Cole and then me,” Wright said. “All of a sudden every single commitment is coming faster and faster. It’s exciting to get all these guys in the fold.”
As for getting back to Notre Dame beyond that official visit, there’s a chance the only Irish game Wright sees in person this season could be the opener in Austin against Texas. In addition to his own Cy-Fair schedule, Wright’s older brother Brady is a sophomore defensive end at Rice.
“I want to get up to Notre Dame again as soon as possible,” Wright said. “For sure I’m going to make the Texas game down here. And if there’s an opening, I’ll get up there this fall too.”
And if there’s not, Wright will just focus on his high school team this fall the same way he did in 7-on-7 this summer.
In barely six months the four-star tight end will be a freshman football player in South Bend. Until then, he can focus on chasing championships in Texas. That’s a big deal in its own right.