Padecky: Scooby Wright stays humble as Heisman Trophy talk gets louder (w/video)
You think you’ve seen it and heard it all, but here’s Scooby Wright on the phone, and after 20 years voting for the Heisman Trophy, I now am going to speak to the first Heisman candidate I know personally.
Wright is the former Cardinal Newman star, now a sophomore linebacker at Arizona, the only defensive player on various Heisman Watch lists, including ESPN and CBS Sports. Wright is the son of Phil and Annette, who should receive the Parental Heisman — he’s so humble, you have to ask Scooby to talk about himself; he won’t.
“Years from now,” Wright said, “no one is going to care or remember how many tackles I had in a game. But if we beat Oregon, people will remember that in 2014 Arizona won its first Pac-12 championship in school history. That’s what I want.”
So, thanks Phil, for volunteering what will happen next week. It’s a trip across America. All expenses paid. Ask Scooby and he’ll say, “I think I’m going to North Carolina and Orlando but I’m not really sure.” Dad has the details.
On Monday, Wright, his grandpa Phil and his parents will board the university’s Lear jet and fly to Charlotte to see if Scooby wins the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the nation’s outstanding defensive player. On Tuesday, the Wrights will fly to Houston to see if Scooby wins the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top defensive lineman or linebacker. On Thursday, Team Scooby will fly to Orlando, Fla., to learn if he’s won the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s best defensive player. On the same day in Orlando, Wright will learn if he wins the Walter Camp Foundation Award, given to the nation’s best player.
Wright, named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, is a finalist for all four awards. As if all the pats on the back could stop there. They don’t. On Monday, Wright was speaking to one of Arizona’s player personnel people when the school official brought up the Heisman.
“Do you think I have a chance to go to New York (presentation site)?” Wright asked.
“Oh, you’re going,” was the reply.
“Really?” Wright said gap-jawed. The way he spoke, Wright was a 3-year-old kid at Christmas who opened up a box and said, “Mommy, I got a red tricycle!”
Don’t be misled by Wright’s self-effacing reaction. Wright may be shy to a compliment, will credit his teammates to a fault, and deflect praise like it’s an incoming bullet, but he is no shrinking violet on the field. He is a hammer who sees nails everywhere.
“May God have mercy on my enemies because I will not.”
That’s the tattoo on his left shoulder. Might as well be inscribed across his heart. Once Wildcats fans learn that this is his motivating motto, it’ll be the next bumper sticker in Tucson. And the Scooby legend and influence will continue to morph into something approaching rock-star status.
The following scene took place at a Mexican restaurant in Tucson called Guadalajara. Phil goes to all of Arizona’s games, home and away. Phil was in a restroom, using the urinal when Phil mentioned his son’s name.
“You know Scooby?” said the man next to him.
Phil allowed that he did.