HOLLYWOOD — When talking about the incoming freshmen at the University of Oregon, head coach Mario Cristobal and linebacker Troy Dye were hesitant to name one that stood out above the rest.
But when asked about Mykael Wright, a corner who played at Valencia from 2016-18, the two couldn’t hold back.
“Balance and body control are off the charts,” Cristobal. “Natural ball skills, he tracks the ball extremely well, very explosive. Very quiet, but he’s a jokester too. He likes joking around. Great family.
“Certainly a guy that’s a huge piece of the recruiting class. One of the best corners in the country. And after just watching him move around and practice with us, rightfully so.”
In Oregon’s spring game, Wright had five tackles, three pass breakups and an interception as part of the second-team defense.
In his two-season career with the Vikings, the corner logged nine interceptions and 25 tackles on defense. On offense, he picked up 1,986 receiving yards (23.1 per game) in addition to 26 touchdowns.
“He’s picking up the defense really well,” said linebacker Troy Dye. “Smooth backpedal, smooth hips. Understands concepts, understands schemes, very smart, very sharp.
“Just a young kid and he’s going to keep working, keep getting better and he’ll have a great career at the University of Oregon and I can’t wait to see him go out there on Saturdays.”
He was part of a talented recruiting class from Southern California that included Valencia teammate Jayvaun Wilson. The 2019 recruiting class includes 11 players from California.
“There wasn’t a guy that we signed that we didn’t feel could make some kind of an impact and help this year,” Cristobal said. “I just thought that the importance of recruiting California and Southern Cal almost was like a fire-starter and really ended up leading to a really excellent recruiting class.”
Wright’s recruiting process was complicated. After playing his sophomore and junior years on varsity at Valencia, committing to Oregon on May 31, 2018, he withdrew from the school and enrolled at Narbonne.
The move was prompted by an employment change for Wright’s father, according to the family. However, Wright never appeared on a prep football roster at any school for his senior season.
According to Dye, the details of a recruiting process don’t follow a player into the college ranks, meaning Wright will start over with a clean slate.
“Once you step on campus, that recruiting stuff is over,” he said. “It’s back to being a freshman on the team. You’re back to the bottom of the barrel. You’ve got to work your way up, you’ve got to earn your stripes like you did before. So once you sign that letter of intent, the recruiting stuff is over. All the glitz and glamor is done and it’s time to go to work.”
Oregon begins its season on Aug. 31 at the University of Auburn, while Valencia starts on Aug. 22 at St. Francis.