The ascendance of cornerback Yuri Wright from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco has been an impressive one, from a sophomore who was focusing on basketball to the nation's No. 3 cornerback and a U.S. Army All-American as a senior. The talented athlete received his Army jersey at a presentation at his school on Thursday, the realization of a dream.
"When I found out I was chosen it was the best feeling ever," said the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder. "All four of us were together when our coach told us but I might have been the most excited. I grew up watching the game and looked forward to watching it every year, I've been watching it since I was 6 or 7 years old. It was a dream come true."
Wright joins teammates Darius Hamilton, Elijah Shumate and Leonte Carroo on the East squad and is thrilled to be heading down to San Antonio with his teammates.
"It's like going down there with my three brothers," he said. "It's great all four of us are going. It makes it a lot more exciting and allows us to play together one last time before college."
Wright knows what to expect when he heads down to Texas, having watched the game for so long.
"My favorite player growing up was Percy Harvin so I remember seeing him play in it and dreaming of trying to cover someone like that," he said. "Now I know I'll get to go against someone like Dorial Green-Beckham who is the No. 1 player in the country this year and it's a great challenge."
Wright's path to the Army Bowl has been an interesting one. He didn't start playing football at Bosco until his junior year.
"I was focused on basketball and thought that would be my future," he said. "I took that much more seriously but coach (Bill) Tierney came to me and said I should focus on football. He said I could be more special as a cornerback and he was right, I owe him a lot."
After a strong junior season on yet another undefeated Bosco team, Pitt was Wright's first offer and others followed quickly.
"After the Pitt offer, they all started coming in," he said. "It was crazy but exciting. And the offers were coming from everywhere, not just the Big East and ACC. It was really great to see that people were taking notice and I was starting to earn offers from schools I was really interested in."
Bosco just finished the season 11-0 and as state champions while boasting wins over out-of-state programs like Mission Viejo, Manatee and St. Edward. Now that the season is over, Wright can focus on where he'll play in college.
"The focus for us has always been on going undefeated," he said. "It was all about the team and winning so now that we have accomplished our goal, I can focus on recruiting a little bit."
Now that recruiting is in full swing, Wright is starting to take his visits and narrow down his list of schools.
"I have my first official visit this weekend to Colorado," he said. "I have been there once before and I really liked it, we have a player out there from Bosco in Tony Jones and I like the players I met out there. After that it will be either Georgia or Notre Dame the next weekend. I'm leaning towards Georgia because they have been showing more interest but I haven't decided yet. Both Colorado and Georgia were in to see me this week."
Wright had originally wanted to make his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7 on NBC, but that plan is out the window now.
"Because I couldn't take any visits during the season I have some other schools I want to see," he said. "Michigan has always been my dream school and favorite school growing up so I need to take an official visit out there. I might also take an official to Rutgers, USC or Cal and if I don't see Notre Dame before the game maybe after. I'm not really sure of any visits aside from Michigan, I will take that in January."
There had been rumors that Urban Meyer and Ohio State reached out and that the interest was mutual, but Wright said it's not true.
"I haven't heard from them at all," he said. "I'm not sure if I'd be interested, I'd have to hear what they say because I've gotten to know all these other coaches so well."
Are there any schools that stand out right now for Wright?
"Michigan and Colorado stand out to me right now," he said. "But it will depend on my visits."