It doesn’t really matter what the sport is, French Camp’s Ethan Wright can play it and at a high level.
In football, Wright was fourth in the state with 147 tackles, averaged 12 points a game in basketball and hit .380 in baseball.
His uncle and football coach, Nathan Wright, said his nephew is the total package.
“He’s just a really good athlete,” Nathan Wright said. “He has one of the prettiest jump shots I’ve ever seen and has one of the prettiest baseball swings I’ve ever seen. His pop time is really good at catcher. And he’s a heck of a football player. He just loves sports. From a coaching standpoint, he’s just what you coach for. He’s coachable and not going to do stupid stuff, and when it’s time to make a play, he’s going to make it.”
Ethan Wright stands at 5-foot-9 and is a solid 210 pounds. East Central signee Jacob Williams found that out the hard way.
“The big kid from Sebastopol who signed with East Central, Jacob Williams, was playing middle linebacker, and Ethan is running the ball and he knocks the kid out,” Nathan Wright said. “Ethan was just running, and it looks like he barely hit the kid. He doesn’t look as powerful as he really is. I look up, and he’s laid out there on the field, knocked out cold. I was wondering what happened. I think it just shows you how powerful he actually is.”
As with most standout players, Ethan Wright plays both sides of the football for the Panthers.
“He had 147 tackles last year, and there is no doubt that he’s my best one,” said the French Camp coach. "If we could get some linemen to go with him, there’s no telling how good he could be. He is going to give you everything he’s got. He’s not an academia guy but is going to give you everything he’s got. He’s a three-sport guy and pretty good at all of them.”
Ethan Wright had an all-state season for the Panthers last year when he recorded 147 total tackles with 92 solo tackles and 55 assists.
“He had a ton of tackles, more than I would have liked,” Nathan Wright said. “And I’m pretty tough on counting tackles. Part of that was because we couldn’t get off the field on third down. If you have a lot of three and outs on defense, you don’t get as many tackles. And you expect your middle linebacker in a 4-3 to make a lot of tackles because you are funneling everything to the middle. And if he got his hands on you, he got you down to the ground.”
Ethan Wright said he was pleased with his season last year, especially at linebacker.
“I thought I had a good year,” he said. “I ended with 147 tackles. We worked hard and did what we could. I tried to do my best. Our defense was mostly contain, and it was forcing everything to the middle linebacker. I got a lot of help from the outside linebackers. I have to make sure that they can’t get inside. I enjoy defense a lot better, but this year I’m going to have to be the quarterback. I will be playing both, and we will see how that goes.”
Last year, he lost out the battle at quarterback to senior Cody Perry. He then played fullback, H-back and some tight end. He even took some snaps at quarterback in running situations. But this season, he is set to be the starting quarterback. He did run for 150 yards on 31 carries and had 10 catches for 177 yards.
“He plays mike linebacker for us, but I’m hoping he doesn’t have to play linebacker for us this year,” Nathan Wright said. “He’s going to have to play quarterback for us this year, and I don’t want to play him at middle linebacker. I don’t want to pull a Jesse Hoskins, but I will if I have to. Jesse played both for me because I didn’t have any other choice.”
After playing all over the field this season, the younger Wright is settling back in at quarterback.
“I have always been a quarterback but last year Cody Perry beat me out, so I could play another position,” Ethan Wright said. “He was more of a throwing guy, and I was more of a running guy. I think we will throw a good bit, but we will probably go a lot of double tights. I can see us running some veer and option there.”
The Panthers coach admits that he may be somewhat biased when it comes to his nephew.
“Being his uncle, I’m going to be a little bit prejudiced but he’s just a good kid,” Nathan Wright said. “Character-wise, you aren’t going to find a kid better than him. He’s so mild in person; he’s a ‘yes sir, no sir’ kind of a kid. But in terms of on the field, when it’s time to play, he knows what to do. He loves to compete, but he’s so mild, you would never know that he’s so competitive. He’s not that guy who’s going to pound his chest or tell anybody that he’s the guy. He’s just not that guy.”
He also coaches his nephew in baseball as well. Ethan hit .380 last year for the Panthers and made the State Games this summer.
“He has the grit and the determination,” Nathan Wright said. “He’s a third baseman and catcher; he’s made for that, just looking at his build. He’s extremely gritty. He will get on the hill and throw strikes and compete. He threw a lot for us this year. Behind the plate, he will put in the work and block ball after ball after ball. He’s one of those — he would catch all three days in a day if you played that many.”
Ethan Wright said playing for his uncle has been a good experience and often carries over to family functions.
“It’s a good relationship because he’s my uncle,” he said. “I know we will go to my grandparents’ house on a Sunday, and we will go out in the yard and be working on footwork stuff. He will be drawing up plays on napkins. He expects a lot more out of me. The mental stuff is what gets to him. He doesn’t like it if I make a mental mistake.”
The younger Wright said he would like the opportunity to play college athletics. The older Wright said whoever gives Ethan a chance will be getting a proven winner and a solid character kid.
“I think he can play somewhere,” Nathan Wright said. “Baseball is what he wants to keep playing; that’s what he really loves. Playing football, his size is going to be an issue even though I think he would make somebody a good fullback or H-back or even a linebacker. But at the end of the day, his height is going to hurt him, and I think he realizes that. I think he’s as tall as he’s going to be. I think baseball is his love. He likes football and likes basketball, but I think baseball is his love. He just loves it. That’s where I would like to see him continuing playing.”