Florida running back Nay’Quan Wright first faced adversity at a young age.
While at youth football practice in his hometown of Miami, shots were opened at the field. A stray bullet ricocheted off the ground, hitting a young running back with NFL dreams.
Wright was shot this day. His story could have ended there, before he ever stepped foot in Carol City High School or the University of Florida. In fact, authorities told his family that the future Gators running back was deemed dead.
Wright survived that day, but has never forgotten his past. Yet, the Miami native uses his experience for motivation, and to never let up on an opportunity. Wright uses this motivation on the football field, where he is quickly emerging as a talented young player for the Florida Gators. In a press conference Monday, Wright discussed his past and the current opportunities ahead of him.
Born and raised in Miami, Wright continues a rich tradition of talent from the 305. His freshman and sophomore years at Carol City, Wright turned heads on the field. After winning a state championship his sophomore year, he began garnering national attention from schools like Georgia, Florida and Miami.
However, a broken ankle early into his junior season hampered Wright’s recruitment process. Schools such as Miami and Georgia moved on from him. Being family friends with Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and former 49ers running back Frank Gore, he knew the potential brutality of the recruiting process.
Still, Wright knew he had gas in the tank, committing to Florida under head coach Dan Mullen.
Wright was the 261 ranked player in the nation, according to the 247sports.com composite. Additionally, he was the 16th ranked running back and 37th ranked player in the state of Florida. So, Wright discusses the adversity of his recruiting process below.
Next Man Up
The long bumpy road may be coming to an end for Wright, who may have found a niche in the Gators backfield. Saturday against Texas A&M, Wright had a career high six carries for 31 yards and his first career touchdown as a Gator. Additionally, he had one catch for 26 yards.
Wright could be the running back the Gators so desperately need. Lately, the running game has been nonexistent for Florida, failing to amass 100 rushing yards for the second straight game. While Wright did not gain over 50 rushing yards Saturday, his 5.2 yards per carry is the highlight of a lackluster day for the backfield. Look for the running back to get more carries in future matchups, as his speed and shiftiness out of the backfield provide versatility for the Gators.
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Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson discussed his redshirt freshman running back Monday.
Even with his college football career underway, he doesn’t forget his humble beginnings, living by his motto of “Not Taking Life For Granted”.
While Wright hasn’t been given the keys to the Florida backfield yet, he’ll be ready for the opportunity. His work ethic and experiences have prepared him to keep working, and when the time comes it will. He discusses this mindset below.
For now, Wright’s worst days are behind him. The running back will continue to play when called upon, and will always not take life for granted.
Catch Wright and the Gators back in action Oct. 17 against rival LSU. To see Wright’s stats at Florida thus far, click here.