STERLING—Derek Wright is officially a professional football player.
The former Manti Templar, who played for Coach Cole Meacham’s team from 2013 to 2015, became an undrafted free agent after the NFL Draft concluded on Saturday evening. Wright then signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers, which became quickly publicized via social media.
Wright used his personal Twitter to retweet several congratulatory tweets regarding the signing and tweeted twice about it on his own. “First step is an opportunity,” he wrote.
In his second tweet, he wrote, “Can’t wait to get to work in Carolina #KeepPounding.”
Wright’s path to the NFL followed through several venues all within Utah. He most recently was a crucial piece of the 2021 Mountain West Conference Championship team at Utah State, catching 48 passes for 789 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior. He netted a career-high 150 receiving yards in a game against New Mexico last November. Wright walked on with the team as a sophomore in 2019.
Prior to his three years with the Aggies, Wright also walked on to play as wide receiver with Snow College, changing to the position for the first time after playing as a quarterback and defensive back in high school.
At Manti, Wright tossed 116 completions for 1,925 yards and 14 touchdowns to 11 interceptions for his career as a quarterback. He also grabbed nine interceptions on defense.
Wright is one of five receivers from Utah State’s 2021 squad to sign free agent contracts with NFL teams this weekend.