Before the 2016 football season, Valencia coach Larry Muir said Mykael Wright was talented.
As the 2016 season progressed, Wright’s play said he was talented.
And since the end of the 2016 season, NCAA Division 1 FBS programs have been singing the same tune.
Wright, a rising junior receiver/cornerback, has received offers from UCLA, Utah, Colorado and Colorado State.
“It feels good. I’m loving it,” said Wright, who said he hopes to make a decision sometime during his junior season or at the end of it.
Thursday, in an 11-on-11 practice against Ventura High at Valencia, Wright showed some of the skills that have caught the attention of college coaches.
Wright intercepted a pass on Ventura’s first offensive series. Before the teams shook hands under the lights, he made a catch on a crossing pattern around his own 45 yard line, continued across the field and then turned upfield, finally being stopped at the Ventura 10. He later scored a short touchdown on an out pattern.
His biggest takeaway from the 2016 season, though, came on the other side of the ball.
“I learned a lot on the defensive side,” Wright said, “about reading different routes.”
Wright intercepted seven passes as a sophomore, helping Valencia to an eighth straight Foothill League title and a run to the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinals.
He caught 31 passes for a team-high 669 yards and eight scores.
He won’t, however, have to carry Valencia’s offense alone. The Vikings are set to return 1,600–yard rusher Moises Haynes and running back Jayvaun Wilson.
Neither player was present Thursday, but senior slot Kyle Quintal regularly beat Ventura coverage for catches, the highlight of which coming on a 30-yard score from rising senior quarterback Connor Downs.
Downs is one of three signal callers (along with rising senior Tyler Haas and rising junior Davis Cop) vying to replace the graduated Aaron Thomas.
Downs took reps first Thursday. He showed the most arm strength and looked comfortable moving around the pocket to avoid pressure.
Haas showed maybe the best wheels of the group, and Kop displayed accuracy, and vision to find open receivers underneath Ventura’s coverage.
“They all have their own different styles and different strengths,” Muir said. “I think Connor is out ahead a little bit right now, but at the same time all three are still competing for it.”
An out-of-state first
For the first time in program history, Valencia will play an out-of-state opponent.
On Sept. 8, the Vikings will host Chaparral High of Scottsdale, Arizona. Chaparral, which went 5-6 last season, will take the place of Chaminade of West Hills on Valencia’s preleague slate.
“We’re pretty excited,” Muir said.