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Oregon's Mykael Wright Listed on Jim Thorpe Watch List for Country's top Defensive Back

The Ducks' top cornerback is primed to shut down top pass catchers in the Pac-12 in 2021.
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Junior cornerback Mykael Wright has been named to the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list, given each season to the top defensive back in college football.

Wright goes through drills at Oregon spring football practice at Autzen Stadium.

Wright goes through drills at Oregon spring football practice at Autzen Stadium.

Wright was one of 40 names to make the list, which includes three other Pac-12 players: USC's Chris Steele, Washington's Trent McDuffie, and Arizona State's Chase Lucas. The SEC was the conference with the most names on the the watch list with seven.

Wright has been a consistent performer in his short time as a Duck, appearing in all 14 games as a freshman and making an impact on special teams by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. In 2020, he was named first-team All-Pac-12 by the Associated Press, starting in all seven games.

Wright finished the year with 25 total tackles and defended nine passes as the Ducks' defense took a step back from their peak form in 2019. He was one of the stronger cornerbacks in the Pac-12, allowing a completion rate of 52.9% (18/34) according to Pro Football Focus and a reliable tackler when defending the run.

The Antelope Valley (Calif.) native enters his third season in Eugene as the undisputed top cornerback on the team, and he'll step into a larger role with Deommodore Lenoir now playing for the San Francisco 49ers.

Wright will play alongside young talent at his position, specifically DJ James, Trikweze Bridges, and Dontae Manning

No player from Oregon has ever won the award since it's creation in 1986. TCU's Trevon Moehrig won the award in 2020.

Other preseason honors for Wright include:

  • Athlon Sports All-America fourth team
  • Athlon Sports Pac-12 All-Conference first team
  • Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference first team

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