Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the 2017 SCV High School Football Preview, published by The Signal on Aug. 25, 2017.
Valencia High receiver and corner Mykael Wright appreciates high fashion.
Michael Kors, Polo and Hollister catch his eye. He has a pair of Gucci slides, of course. And whenever he wears socks, you better believe they’re ankle socks.
They say clothes make the man, and this man makes moves.
Just as a runway model has a signature gait, Wright has his own style on the field, bolting toward opponents and not slowing down.
“His closing speed is really good,” says Vikings coach Larry Muir of the junior. “The other thing you look at is he’s so instinctual. He naturally recognizes what offenses are trying to do to him.”
The opportunity to display those skills, though, screeched to a halt in 2015.
When Wright arrived at Valencia in September of his freshman year, he learned he’d have to sit out his first season and two games of the next due to CIF transfer rules.
The decision further altered life for Wright, a naturally quiet kid who left Antelope Valley High to live with a family he knew in the Santa Clarita Valley – a move orchestrated by his parents.
“They said that it’ll be better for me (at Valencia) than me going to Antelope Valley,” Wright says. “It’ll be, like, less violence, and I won’t get into (as much) trouble out here in Valencia as I would out there at Antelope Valley.”
Wright acknowledged that he spent time with “people that did bad things,” but didn’t see himself going down the wrong path.
Overall, though, he said that life is better at Valencia.
“To see him now, the way he’s excelling academically and emotionally and socially, the process of the reward is happening daily,” says Lori Wikler, who, along with her husband Michael, is Wright’s guardian.
“(We have) no regrets whatsoever,” she says. “Just to see him do so well, it makes it all worth it. And that’s always been our focus. It’s for Mykael, and so we are 100 percent committed to him.”
Wright keeps in touch with his biological parents on a daily basis. On weekends, he usually sees his family, which includes his two younger brothers, a 5-year-old sister and a 19-year-old brother.
The younger brothers, ages 9 and 14, both changed their football jersey numbers to No. 2 to match Wright.
“It’s pretty cool because my little brothers, they look up to me,” Wright says.
Wright is a role model for good reason. While limited to Valencia’s scout team at practice as a freshman, Wright was first on the field and played at full speed.
“He came out hungry after all that,” Muir says. “I think he came out wanting to prove something. He wanted to really prove that he was really good.”
In the 11 games of his sophomore campaign, Wright caught 31 passes for 669 yards and eight touchdowns. At corner, he had seven interceptions.
He also developed a friendship with Valencia running back and safety Jayvaun Wilson that was based on their shared interest of designer threads.
“Not more than me, but I could say he is (fashionable),” Wilson says.
Their relationship began centered around what they wore, but it slowly transitioned to what they did on the field, too.
“Sometimes he’ll say, ‘I’m tired, but I know we’ve got to do this,’ and we’ll come back on the field and we do (work) for two hours, two and a half hours,” Wilson says.
The college offers from UCLA, Utah, Colorado and Colorado State embody the work Wright put in during his sophomore season.
While he’s content with the recruiting interest he’s received thus far, the goal is a nod from Oregon.
“That’s a dream school to me, a school I’ve been liking since I was younger,” he says.
For now, you can catch Wright quietly putting in work during and outside of practice. And he’ll be freshly dressed the entire time.