Father and Son will make the 'Wright' choice

Whenever Dawgman.com makes calls to prospective student-athletes, it's always to talk to the player in question. However, when a parent opens up and allows us to get their thoughts, it can be a very informative and thought-provoking conversation.

Such was the case when we tried the house of Manual Wright earlier this week. Instead we ended up talking to Manual's father Terrence, who was more than happy to let us know how things were going with his son.

"I know my son can play football," Terrence told Dawgman.com. "I was a college athlete too, and have been through 5 knee surgeries. All I want him to be prepared for is when he has to eventually drop sports and go 9 to 5. I want him to be in a position where he is getting the best education possible."

Terrence played college hoops, and made stops at South Carolina among a couple of other schools.

Being a former college athlete, Terrence has some life experience to help guide Manual along the same path. He wants his son to benefit from the lessons he's learned. "The main thing I tell him is to keep his grades up, because if you don't do that, you're not going to be able to do anything," he said. "You can't play. And to get as much out of his college experience as possible. It's something I had to learn the hard way. It's a 'use-me' situation. The school is going to want to use him to play football, so he needs to use them to get the best education he can. He's a young man right now who needs guidance, and I'm going to be the one who gives it to him."

Right now, the Wrights are in the process of setting up official visits to the schools that Manual is considering. He has offers from all over the country so trying to figure out the final 5 won't exactly be easy, but it's something father and son are working on.

"We're trying to set one up to Washington right now," said Terrence. "I'm going to be accompanying him on his visit."

And the others? "Probably most of the top schools," he said. "Who's up there right now? Miami? Yes, we'll go there. Nebraska? No. Oklahoma? Yeah, they'll probably get a visit. Maybe Oregon. All the dates are tentative right now. They depend on the playoffs."

Terrence feels Manual won't have to visit the local schools, USC and UCLA, mostly because of the familiarity factor. "We've been checking them out since we've been here," he said. "We know both schools pretty well. We're on a personal basis with everyone."

As is customary, going to games can be an essential part of the recruiting process, and the Wright family has been taking advantage of that opportunity. "We've been trying to go to as many as possible, but I also coach Pop Warner, so Saturdays are hard," Terrence said. "I would say we have been to 5 or 6 games. One of the games we went to was Washington and Arizona State. My nephew is Michael Williams."

Terrence liked what he saw, especially on the Husky side of the ball. "I was impressed! They had some excellent offensive output."

While he feels it's very important for him to take trips with Manual, Terrence will balance that with taking care of Manual's younger brothers for weekends at a time. "I think I'm only going to take a couple of trips," he said. "I am a full-time coach, and I'm also going back to school, so I can't just go on trips whenever. And as soon as football is over, I go right into coaching basketball. And Manual has a brother, Marquis, who is 6-4 and 190 pounds. He is a 10th grader and also plays for (Long Beach) Poly. The coaches are expecting a lot out of him. So as soon as Manual goes through this, I'm going to have to go back to square one with Marquis. And I also have a 9-year old son who just did the Super Bowl for Pop Warner."

The Wright athletic genes are alive and well. "Well, Manual's Mother was a great athlete who did both track and basketball, and my Mother was an all-State basketball player too."

Finally, talk turns to interest in Washington. While he refuses to speak for his son, Terrence is looking forward to Manual's official visit. "I like Washington," he said. "I've spoken to Coach Neuheisel a few times, and every time I talk to him it's a very pleasant conversation. I'm very much looking forward to taking a trip there. They have a winning tradition up there, and my boy Willie Hurst is doing really well right now. He's ballin'! He's ballin' out of control! And I like what I've seen of what they have done with (Larry) Tripplett. If they can get that much out of him, what could they do with my son? He could really tear it up. But I want to check it out for myself."

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