Salem Kicker Has All The Wright Stuff

A first-team All-Ohio kicker from a season ago, Salem High School's Bryan Wright has followed that up with a record-setting senior campaign. He's shattered the school record three times this year with kicks of 47, 52 and 57 yards. His 57-yarder puts him in a tie for the second longest field goal made in the history of Ohio high school football. Wright is also his team's punter and he routinely knocks the ball into the end zone on his kickoffs. OSU and Cincinnati are two of his favorites.

His already impressive resume just gets better with every record-setting kick. Bryan Wright of Salem High School has broken the school record three times this year and he's aiming to eclipse the state mark in week 10 of the season.

"If the conditions are good enough on Friday, I think Coach (Doug Phillips) is going to let me try for the state record," Wright said. "I need to kick a 61-yarder."

Former Ohio State Buckeye, B.J. Sander, holds the current distance mark for prep field goal kickers in Ohio with a 60-yarder. Wright's record-setting kicks at Salem include a 47-yard field goal early in the season, a 52-yarder in week seven, and 57-yarder in week eight of the season. That 57-yarder ties him with a couple of others for the second-longest kick in the state's history.

Wright kicks this 52-yard field goal against Canfield that breaks his 47-yard school record that he set earlier in the season.

For the season this year, Wright's connected on seven of his 10 field goal attempts with his makes coming from 30, 35, 38, 47, 48 (in the same game he kicked his 57-yarder), 52 and finally 57. His three misses have been from 46, 48 and 55 yards.

"Yeah he's had some big kicks for us this season," Phillips said. "And not only is he a field goal kicker but I believe he's going to be a great punter one day. In practice you'll watch some 55 and 60-yard kicks coming off of his foot. If you look at Bryan he's not a small guy. He's 6-2, 205 pounds and his thighs are like tree trunks. He's a big athlete and he has three threats. He's just not a field goal kicker, he's just not a kickoff specialist and he's just not a punter. He can do all three and I think that someone that invests money in him will find out that they're going to get a great kicker for their price."

Wright has knocked 80 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone this year and he has a career punting average of over 38 yards but Phillips thinks the strong-legged Wright is destined to be a place kicker at the next level.

"He has a passion right now for kicking, he really does. First and foremost, that's what he wants to do," said Phillips about Wright who was 6 of 7 with a long kick of 43 yards in his junior year and is 67 of 71 in PATs over his career. "And do I think he can do it? Oh yeah! I've seen him in pressure situations and he always comes through, he always puts it right down the middle. And he's entertaining. People come to watch him kick in the pre-game."

It's been a dream season for Wright this year.

"I'm very excited actually with how I've been doing this year so far," said Wright who was a first-team All-Ohio selection in his junior season. "I never thought I'd have the opportunity that I've had this year and I'm really thankful for it. Just to be able to make the kicks that I've been making, I'm just really excited about it and I'd like to thank my holder and snapper who do a very good job also."

Wright played soccer and football in the seventh and eighth grades but didn't start mixing the two sports until he became the varsity punter in his sophomore season for the Quakers.

"Things started taking off after that," Wright said. "I started kicking and punting and working on my techniques and started going to camps, and things just took off after that."

And he's still trying to hone his kicking skills on a daily basis.

"I'm always trying to build my leg strength up and work on my accuracy because there's no such thing as a perfect kicker," Wright said. "I have to improve my punting and my kickoffs, there's little things you need to do with everything. So you just have to continue to work hard and do your best in the weight room and at other stuff like that."

With a record of 6-3 going into the final weekend of the regular season, Salem finds themself on the outside looking in at a shot at the post-season.

"If this is the last game I just want to end the year with a bang," said Wright who was selected as a team captain for his senior season. "I want us to get a win, have a great team victory and hopefully end up kicking some more field goals. And then I hope it all goes down hill from there. I hope I can find out what college that I'll be going to pretty soon and commit."

Wright's father, Robert Wright, played offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bearcats and the family is very familiar with much of the coaching staff there and Phillips, from his days at Youngstown State, is an extended branch of the Jim Tressel coaching tree.

"I've always been a Buckeye and a Bearcat," said Wright who attended Ohio State's kicking camp, among a bunch of others, during the summer. "My dad went to Cincinnati so I was born a Cincinnati Bearcat fan. But everyone in our town loves the Buckeyes and I always watch the Buckeyes and I've learned to love them too. I'd love to play for either of those schools. It would be awesome."

But unfortunately neither of those schools, as of yet, have extended Wright a scholarship offer.

"Recruiting has been going good so far but I haven't gotten any offers yet. I'm hearing from some good schools right now but I hope I can hear from some bigger schools," said Wright who is also looking at West Virginia and Pitt as well. "But it's all about opportunity and which schools are looking for a kicker. Hopefully things will turn out good. I think they will."

No matter what schools end up recruiting him, Wright feels pretty good about what he's accomplished as a kicker to this point.

"I'm pretty happy. I have pretty good stats. I've kicked a lot of field goals," said Wright who is willing to be a kicker or a punter at the next level. "I'm really happy actually."

Phillips, who happens to be a personal friend of All-Pro kicker Jeff Wilkins of the St. Louis Rams, believes that Wright has the kind of ability that can make the right school, who takes a chance on him, very happy.

"He's an athlete. He plays baseball also," Phillips said. "You look at him and he's not your typical kicker. He's got a 6-2, 205-pound body frame and I can only see him getting stronger and better. He's only 17-years-old so he has a lot of maturing to do. I think whoever gets him is going to get a quality kicker with the potential, I truly believe, to go beyond college.

"But right now he's focusing on getting into a college where he can help a program win football games and I'm certain that he'll have every opportunity to do that. Bryan Wright is definitely going to be a great kicker for some university next year."

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