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Countdown to UVA Football: #96 Steven Wright

With 96 days remaining until football, we're looking at #96 Steven Wright. He is a redshirt freshman DE who may well get some snaps as a reserve DE this year. He's undersized, but he's a high motor guy who plays big.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Position: DE
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 235
Year: Redshirt Freshman
Hometown: Waycross, GA
Twitter: N/A

With the move a 3-4 base defense, DEs are generally going to be bigger than they were in the 4-3 defense favored by Mike London. When Bronco discussed his first unit DL, the 3 players he mentioned are all at least 280 pounds. Steven Wright is listed at just 235 pounds, though he plays bigger. He also has a big frame that can certainly support an addition 20 pounds or more.

It does seem as though Mendenhall is more interested in having dynamic players who can move and cause problems on their own play DL. This is in contract to the 3-4 defense utilized by Al Groh, which preferred bigger, space-eater types for the DL spots. Of course, we know that Groh's defenses were best when the DEs (such as Chris Long) could make plays on their own.

It is difficult to find information online about Steven Wright. He has the same name as the deadpan comedian as well as a pitcher for the Red Sox. Good luck finding a youtube video about the Hoos' Steven Wright. But, here is a link to his junior year highlights on HUDL.

Wright was a 2015 recruit from Mike London and was rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals, ESPN and 247 sports. Scout rated him 2 stars. Rivals ranked him 34th among strong-side DEs and ESPN ranked him 104th among DEs. He also played TE in HS, though he was recruited solely as a DE. He had offers from Nebraska, UNC and Tennessee among a few others.

Though Wright isn't the fastest of DEs, he's got a high motor. It is because of that motor that he'll actually fit very well as a 3-4 DE despite his lack of ideal size for the position.

Wright was twice named scout team player of the week last season. Interestingly, one week it was defense scout team and one week it was offensive scout team. That was Georgia Tech week, to Wright was likely used to help mimic GT's offensive line, a quick, high-motor unit. Wright obviously did well in that role, something that bodes well for his future on the DL.

After spring practice, when coach Mendenhall discussed the DL units, Wright was named as a 2nd string DE. Now, this wasn't an official announcement or even a spring depth chart release, this was just Mendenhall talking with reporters. Still, that is high praise for the redshirt freshman. Even if he doesn't see the field much this season, that will give him a heads up heading into 2017 and beyond when he may be counted on for more snaps.