I don’t believe anyone knew more about playing linebacker than Dick Butkus, nor do I think anyone in human history was more suited to play there. Butkus, who was constantly accused of targeting people when he played in the league once said When I played pro football, I never set out to hurt anyone deliberately, unless it was, you know, important, like a league game or something. That is a linebacker’s attitude. Like class of 2023’s best linebacker in Kentucky, Carson Wright from Pikeville, for instance. Carson has been described by one of my competitors, Youth1, as being a strong tackler and in relentless pursuit of the football from the outside linebacker position. Yeah, I would say that is accurate. I know this sounds like a mighty hyperbolic description, and for a normal 7th grade linebacker it certainly would be. I mean, he’s a seventh grader. How in the world can we possibly be this impressed with a 7th grade linebacker? Well, let me tell you…
First of all, should you be new to this site, there is a difference between your standard fare of middle school football, and middle school football player, versus a middle school football player like Carson Wright. Carson, unlike most middle school players, has been facing advanced players on advanced teams comprising much advanced competition requiring advance skill, athleticism, and ability. Carson has been playing football, for a few years now, on both the State and National middle school level. That level is not like running out to your high school’s practice field to watch home-town Junior-high play the middle school team from the continuous county. Carson has played for Team Kentucky FBU twice and, just last year, was Kentucky’s Defensive MVP from the 7th grade Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Classic, though he was only a 6th grader at the time. I alluded to the disparity between normal middle school football players and the anatomically and athletically freakish player who is middle-school aged with his age being about the only thing middle school about him. These are the middle school players one encounters on the State and National circuit. I described the specifics of the phenomenon in my article entitled This Ain’t Middle School Football. That article, which is linked herein, was written in January of this year.
Now here’s the difference…how many middle school (much less 7th grade) linebackers did your home-town team face this year who were 5-11 and weighed 160 pounds, like Carson; have a registered 40 yard dash time of 4.94 seconds, like Carson; and can run the pro agility shuttle in 4.69 seconds, like Carson? Let me help you answer the before stated question; unless you played Pikeville, you didn’t face any. Why and how can we say that here at KPGFootball? We are entitled to say it because we cover the Commonwealth at this level of football, have coached at this level of football, and know of what the talent pool consists at this level of football. There aren’t any linebackers, like we above described, running around Kentucky (other than Carson Wright) who look, run, and hit like he does. Sorry, Carson is in a class by himself. Now, before all you parents want to tell me your little Johnny also is in seventh grade, plays linebacker, and has similar times in the 40 yard dash and the pro agility shuttle, I am talking about combine registered times and not some, daddy timed me in the back yard time.
Think about this, the kid played LB in the Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Classic on the 7th grade team as a 6th grader and was the Defensive MVP. I am going to let that resonate for a moment. There is just nothing normal about that. If you look at any of the pictures I have attached to this article, or just stare the young man in the back of his eyes, he doesn’t look like a 7th grade linebacker, he doesn’t play like a 7th grade linebacker, he doesn’t hit like a 7th grade linebacker, he doesn’t run like a 7th grade linebacker. Carson is one of those rare instances where, if Kentucky allowed middle schoolers to play in football games with players more than two grades ahead of them, Carson might have found himself on the high school varsity roster with his brother, Connor, this past Fall. I am willing to wager he would have gotten significant playing time too.
Plainly and simply set forth, and as directly as we at KPGFootball can put it; Carson Wright is the class of his class at the OLB position throughout Kentucky. He is a player for whom the Tennessee coaches are going to have to game-plan this summer and, certainly, will. He is what an offensive coordinator calls a 2nd level problem when attempting to either run or pass the football. If anyone on that Tennessee sideline should doubt this, let me recommend they put in the tape of last year’s game.
This is Fletcher Long, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!
If you enjoyed this article and wish to gain full-access to the site, then subscribe monthly to Kentucky Prep Gridiron by following the prompts!