Thursday, May 6, 2010

Palo Verde's Brandon Wright one step closer to spot in all-star game

By Anthony Fenech

Thursday, May 6, 2010 | 2:10 a.m.

Brandon Wright watched Adrian Peterson.

The Palo Verde High running back watched Peterson on television playing in the U.S. Army All-American high school football game. A few years later, he watched Reggie Bush and C.J. Spiller, too.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the All-American game,” Wright said.

It appears the soon-to-be senior is on the brink of doing just that, joining the likes of Peterson, Bush and Spiller who participated in the prestigious showcase game before shining in college and reaching the NFL.

Wednesday afternoon in the Palo Verde High School gym, in front of a small crowd of family, friends and teammates, Wright was nominated to participate in the 2011 installment of the annual game, which is held each winter in San Antonio.

“This is a big opportunity for me,” Wright said. “It’s that much better of a chance for me to accomplish my goals.”

Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost saw Wright’s potential in the first game last season. On his initial play, he ran for a 35-yard touchdown against Spring.

“That’s when I knew he would be special,” Rost said of the touchdown.

Wright, who also returns kicks and plays defensive back, finished 1,181 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns last fall. As a sophomore, he rushed for 977 yards and 13 touchdowns, adding 18 receptions for 274 yards.

Last January, he participated in the U.S. Army All-American combine, running the 40-yard-dash in 4.4 seconds, the fifth-fastest time at the combine.

The time is part of the reason why he was nominated.

“It’s an honor just to be nominated,” he said. “But man, I want to be in that game.”

Western High defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, who is a junior-to-be at Arizona State, is the last local to play in the game. Former Palo Verde standouts Jarrell Harrison (Missouri) and Mike Smith (Nebraska) were nominated but failed to make the final cut.

“I told him I had good news and bad news,” Rost said. “But I think what he’s done and the offers he has will help him get in.”

Wright has scholarship offers by Colorado and UNLV, with several others expressing interest.

“I’ve progressed a lot,” Wright said. “But next year, I want to blow it out of the water.”

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