Scooby Wright wins Bednarik Award

Arizona's Scooby Wright stands with his trophy after being awarded the Chuck Bednarik Award as the defensive player of the year at the College Football Awards on Thursday. Credit: John Raoux / AP

Arizona’s Scooby Wright stands with his trophy after being awarded the Chuck Bednarik Award as the defensive player of the year at the College Football Awards on Thursday.
Credit: John Raoux / AP

STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright on Thursday won the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s defensive player of the year.

Wright, a sophomore at Arizona who prepped at Cardinal Newman High in Santa Rosa before heading to Tucson to compete for the Wildcats, was presented with the award during the College Football Awards Show. He joins USC linebacker Rey Maualuga in 2008 as the only Pac-12 players to win the award.

“I’ve had to pinch myself to make sure this is real,” Scooby’s grandfather, Phil Sr., told the Arizona Daily Star. “It’s been an incredible experience that every grandfather dreams about going through. In all the years I’ve been involved in sports, this has been the most exciting week of them all.”

Scooby Wright also won the Lombardi Award on Wednesday night as the nation’s best lineman, and the Bronko Nagurski Award on Monday night as the top defensive player in college football. In addition, he was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Wright was selected over Bednarik finalists Vic Beasley of Clemson and Joey Bosa of Ohio State. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the Bednarik Award in 2013.

Also on Thursday, Wright was named to the 2014 Walter Camp, USA Today and SB Nation All-America first teams. He was named SB Nation Defensive Player of the Year.

Since the conclusion of the Wildcats’ season, Wright has garnered several national honors. He won the Nagurski Award on Monday; on Wednesday, he won the Lombardi Award and was named a first-team All-American by CBS Sports. He also was one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Award won Thursday night by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

“I’m so ready to get back to work,” Wright told the Daily Star. “It’s been a fun week, but now it’s time to get back on the field, and I’m definitely ready.”

Wright was a stalwart on the Arizona defense this season, helping the Wildcats finish 10-3 overall and win the Pac-12 South at 5-2.

Through 13 games, Wright had 153 tackles, including 28 tackles for losses, plus 14 sacks and six forced fumbles, all team highs. He ranked among the top five FBS players for total tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles. He was the only FBS player to finish in the top 25 in each of those categories.

Mariota, the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, dominated Thursday’s awards show, taking home three trophies — the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback, the Walter Camp National Player of the Year award and the Maxwell Award, the top honor handed out at the end of the program.

The award show is presented annually by the Maxwell Football Club. The selection committee consists of NCAA college head football coaches, sportswriters and sportscasters throughout the U.S. and members of the Maxwell Football Club.

Wright will be presented with the official Chuck Bednarik Award at the Maxwell Football Club’s Award Gala on March 13 in Atlantic City, N.J.

Wright and the Wildcats will compete against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 in Glendale, Ariz. The game will be televised by ESPN.