Was a walk-on for the Tar Heels but earned a scholarship his junior year and became a team captain as a senior. Photo Credit: Newsday/Photo By Patrick E. McCarthy
CORTLAND, N.Y. - When Mark Sanchez is under center and he has the guy wearing No. 15 split out as a wide receiver, it's been virtually a given where the rookie quarterback is going with the ball.
Just keep your eyes focused on Wallace Wright.
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"We always tease that we have a read for the other quarterbacks, but when Wallace is in there, we know where Mark is throwing the ball," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "He's going to Wallace."
So far, Wallace has been Sanchez's Wright hand man. The two, who sometimes put in extra work after practice during the spring Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and June minicamp, have developed a certain synergy throughout the first week of training camp.
Known mostly as a special- teams demon, the 6-1, 197-pound Wright has been gobbling up nearly everything thrown his way, especially when he's been on the receiving end of a pass from the Jets' $50-million quarterback. They appear to always be on the same wavelength.
"I don't know how that happened; it just seemed that he is someone who has been getting open," Sanchez said. "I think he is doing a great job. All I know is that the Wallace that I see in this camp has done awesome. He's been there when I look for him making big-time catches on the sideline and over the middle. He is not afraid to go in the middle. That is big-time. He's a great receiver and he is doing well for himself."
Wright, who tied Ahmad Carroll for the team lead in special-teams tackles with 26 last season, wants to make a name for himself as a wide receiver. He only has six career receptions for 87 yards but is doing his best to throw his name into the conversation when talk turns to the Jets' receiving corps.
He was one of the few receivers to have a decent showing in Thursday's Green & White scrimmage, snagging three passes for 23 yards.
"I feel like I've gone under the radar a little bit," Wright said. "This is my fourth year coming up. So, I'm just trying to get into that rotation, get out of that light of being just a special teams [player] - still want be the special-teams player that I am - but also get some reps on offense and show the world that I can play receiver also."
The depth-chart waters are pretty murky behind No. 1 receiver Jerricho Cotchery because no one has asserted himself yet. Although it might be a long shot for Wright to shoot way up the totem pole, history shows that he's beaten the odds before.
"My whole life, I've been the underdog," Wright said. "I'm the underdog right now. I'm used to it. That's what I've done - walk-on at UNC, Division I; tryout guy here. So that's just my story, the story of my life. So it's no different. I approach every game, every practice the same way. Just come out here and work and get better every day. That's it."
Notes & quotes: After seven days of work, the Jets took Friday off. The players had the option of traveling to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown or making the trek northwest from Cortland to Watkins Glen for some NASCAR action. They return to work Saturday for practices at 8:20 a.m. and 3:55 p.m.