Plant LB Wright latest Tampa star to choose USF
USF continues a strong surge of local commitments this summer, with Plant outside linebacker Mitchell Wright announcing Tuesday afternoon that he would be signing with the Bulls, choosing the hometown school over Boston College.
"Obviously, being close to home, it's easier for family and friends to get to games, and there was a connection I felt with Coach (Skip) Holtz and (defensive coordinator Chris) Cosh," Wright said. "In talking to some of the players, I really felt a connection there."
Wright, who put himself at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, saved his best game last season for the state championship, breaking loose for five sacks and 14 total tackles in Plant's victory against previously undefeated Miramar. He said his first look at USF will be as an outside linebacker -- where he'll play for the Panthers this fall -- but that he could also work as a third-down pass rusher.
Wright's commitment is just the latest in a new push of locals choosing to stay home, along with Jesuit's Cameron Ruff and Robinson's Bruce Hector and Connor Rafferty in the past three weeks. Plant offensive lineman Richy Klepal, who had an offer from USF, also announced his commitment Tuesday, saying he's headed to Florida State.
USF hasn't had much luck on signing day with Plant graduates in recent years -- long-snapper Mike Walsh went from a walk-on to a three-year starter, and linebacker Donte Spires was a contributor from junior college, but Wright has a chance to help other Panthers standouts consider staying home for their college years.
Holtz is especially close to Plant's program because his son Trey played for the Panthers the past two seasons, so he's seen as many of their game as his schedule allows. Depending on how you're counting, this is now between nine and 11 commitments for USF's 2013 class -- Immokalee receiver Tshumbi Johnson and Alabama lineman Cameron Fraser consider themselves commitments, but are wobbly at best.