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Season in Review: Bryan Wright

Wright will be the top returning pass rusher for the Bearcats in 2019.

Navy v Cincinnati Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Numbers

  • 54 tackles
  • 8.5 tackles for loss
  • 5.0 sacks

Bryan Wright was one of the many players who really broke out for the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2018. During his first few years in Cincinnati, he had trouble playing full seasons, redshirting in 2015 and then appearing in eight and seven games, respectively, in 2016 and 2017. That 2017 season was cut short by injury, which put him in recovery mode heading into 2018. Considering he had 43 tackles combined in those seasons, it wasn’t a guarantee that he would be a significant contributor or even have the chance to be in 2018. As we now know, he turned into one of the best defenders on the team.

It started with an impressive showing against UCLA in the season opener, when Wright had four solo tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Wright started at middle linebacker in that game and he was right there on the depth chart all season, starting all 13 games. Along the way he tied for third on the team in tackles (54) with James Wiggins while really helping to enhance the Bearcats’ rejuvenated pass rush. His five sacks ranked second on the team and would have led all Bearcats in 2017, 2016 and 2015. In addition, he contributed six quarterback hits and 8.5 tackles for loss. That second total was the third-highest on the roster behind Cortez Broughton and Kimoni Fitz.

The Best of the Best

Sept. 1 at UCLA

As noted previously, Wright made a statement right away with four tackles, including two sacks and a forced fumble.

Sept. 22 vs. Ohio University

It feels as if everyone had a big game in this one. Wright tied a career-high with nine tackles, although eight of them were assisted.

Oct. 20 at Temple

Half of his four tackles went for loss in this matchup with the Owls.

Oct. 27 at SMU

All eight of his tackles were solo efforts and one even resulted in a sack.

Nov. 10 vs. USF

Wright had 1.5 sacks against the Bulls in a 35-23 victory.

Dec. 31 vs. Virginia Tech

Even though this wasn’t the best game of Wright’s season, it was still solid and included five total tackles and half of one for loss.

For Next Year

Wright should expect to maintain his starting job at linebacker. With Copeland and Fitz both gone, he is the top returning pass rusher on the roster. Now a graduate student, Wright’s unrelenting pressure on opposing backfields will once again be a key for UC’s defensive approach. If he also improves on his ability to pursuit ball carriers in the open field and defend against the pass, he has the potential to be an all-conference performer.