The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Top Cat: Need For Speed

Chris Wright is fast.

Not just normally fast, he’s really fast.

At Niles West High School in Skokie, Wright placed second in the class 3A state 100-meter dash as a senior, in 2009.

He ran the 100-meter dash in 10.7 seconds, only one second behind the world record.

Wright ran far past Tennessee State defensive backs and caught three touchdown passes in the second half on Saturday.

With touchdown catches of 15, 65 and 81 yards, compiling 217 total receiving yards, Wright earned the praise of Eastern offensive coordinator Roy Wittke.

Wright has been a deep threat since his high school switched to a spread offense and he switched from running back to wide receiver.

Now, Wright is running the deep ball often and freshman quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has confidence in him.

“After I run a route, I’ll come back and tell (Jimmy) ‘This guy can’t cover me’ or ‘I can run past this guy’ so he trusts me to throw it,” Wright said.

Wittke said Wright and Garoppolo are forming a connection, especially meant for pass plays deep down the field.

Playing for the Niles West football team, Wright said he became known as the team’s deep threat in its spread offense.

Wright has taken that to the college level, as he has scored five of his six total touchdowns in the past two weeks.

“I’m good at it,” Wright said. “I’m not going to break tackles, I’m not strong, I’m just lucky I’m fast.”

Eastern trailed 28-7 to Tennessee State on Saturday. In the second half, Wright caught three unanswered touchdowns to tie the game 28-28.

Wright said this gave the team confidence.

“It got the offense clicking, and we had momentum,” Wright said.

With Wright emerging as a top deep threat for the Panthers’ offense, Wittke said he will help the offense.

“It will help our overall passing game,” Wittke said.

Wright had 217 receiving yards Saturday, the third highest in Eastern’s history. The total is also the fourth highest in the Football Championship Subdivision this season.

Over the past two weeks, Wright has caught seven passes – five were touchdowns. With Wright performing well, the Panthers have gotten their only two wins of the season.

This season, Wright has 20 catches for 509 yards and six touchdowns. He is averaging 25 yards -a one quarter of a football field – per catch, establishing himself as a premiere big play receiver.

Going into Saturday’s game, head coach Bob Spoo said Tennessee State wouldn’t be afraid to play Eastern’s receivers man-to-man. As promised, TSU did.

When asked how Wright was able to be so successful against the coverage Saturday, Spoo simply said, “He’s a fast white guy.”

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944 or [email protected].

Top Cat: Need For Speed

Top Cat: Need For Speed

Photo Illustration by Kim Foster


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