“I was so excited, everything felt surreal, It was definitely one of the happiest times for me, I’ve been so happy since. It really lifted my spirits; the decision wasn’t hard at all,” he said about his emotions leading up to his commitment decision.
His journey to get here was a long one going all the way back to his high school days as a Vacaville Bulldog and being under-recruited. In addition to that, he dealt with the loss of a very close uncle, surviving car accidents and overcame football-related injury.
“I’m not proud of it, I’m thankful for it. Without any of that, I wouldn’t be who I am today. My motivation wouldn’t be the same, the way I play the game is a lot different because of what I’ve been through. I run with purpose. I run by faith, not by sight. That is something I am always thankful for,” he said.
He needed someone who was going to be honest and truthful with him. Listen, not judge and be a mentor. Someone to explain to him that he could still control his future despite all the adversity he was going through. If he could have a conversation with his former self back then, that’s the person he would have been.
“…At that age, I was a young man hurting inside, very confused and just needing someone to be there for me. Someone who understood, [could] communicate with me the correct way, have a conversation and understand the things I was going through,” he said.
Weber State is the best place for him. While he misses the California weather, Utah is a place where he can focus and relax. With access to a beautiful campus, he feels motivated to learn every day. Three things Wright admires about the football program are they run, they win, and they care. He knows that they will develop him into a phenomenal athlete. He spoke very highly of the Weber State coaching staff.
“What sold me about the staff was their development within the program, if you pay attention to what they have done over the last couple of years you’d be shocked. Coach Jay Hill has really turned the program around since he’s been there. They have great coaches with good backgrounds. Even my position coach [Quinton Ganther] knows very well what he is doing. He’s played in the NFL, has good experience, he knows the game and knows what it takes to get to the next level.”
The 5’11, 210 pound, Fairfield, California native carried the ball 89 times, for 633 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and reached the end zone four times as an American River College Beaver.
What he was able to take away from his playing days at the JUCO level was being relentless with hard work and commitment. American River College molded him into a mentally strong young man which he said will take him very far.
Daniel Wright has joined a Weber State Wildcats team that won back-to-back Big Sky championships in 2017 and 2018 with 7-1 conference records and 21 combined wins in two seasons. In addition to those accolades, they made the FCS quarterfinal round two years in a row, seven players became All-Americans and 13 players earned Big Sky Conference first-team honors.
“My family hasn’t stopped telling me how excited they are and proud. They’ve seen me go through so much and continue to follow my dreams and goals. My family has been very supportive and helpful throughout this process. Even close friends that I would call family have been very excited for me. All that support behind me is furthermore reason to go harder and not give up. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, I want to make my whole city of Fairfield, California proud. I want to bring positivity to the town and change the negative image it has had lately.”
Going into his first offseason as a Wildcat, he believes the team will mesh phenomenally because their record and stats will show just how good they can play together. He expects to compete every day, learn and plans to make the most of his first season by having fun and taking advantage of the opportunities in store for him as a Weber State student-athlete.
“I want to describe my growth as a player on the field this year. That’s not something I will speak for but something I will show. I will do the same as a person off the field.”
He knows that there’s a lot he still has to learn but that knowledge will come through film sessions, practice and the weight room.
“I am looking forward to working on my body and getting right for this season. I want to be healthy and at my best. Flexibility is my most important concern. I have been taking stretching much more seriously, the looser you are the better,” he said about what he wants to improve on this offseason.
Of all the firsts he will have to begin his career as a Weber State Wildcat, his first carry is going to mean more to him than just a statistic.
“Although running with my team out the tunnel will be a great feeling, I believe my first carry will excite me the most. I know it will be big, not just the play but everything that comes with that carry. It will be for my family,” he said.