UND signee with the most touchdown catches in high school history expects to be key piece of receiving rebuild

UND recruit Jack Wright, the nation's all-time leader in touchdown catches, stands with Fighting Hawks offensive coordinator Danny Freund at a UND camp last summer. Submitted photo.

Jack Wright wasn't on UND's recruiting board early in the process of searching for talent in the 2020 recruiting class.

As a 6-foot wide receiver prospect out of an 8-man football program in Oklahoma, Wright was in non-traditional recruiting ground for the Fighting Hawks.

But a chance meeting between UND coaches and Wright at a prospect camp at Iowa State last summer led the Hawks to signing the national all-time leader in touchdown catches to a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday on National Signing Day.

"He was probably the biggest surprise in this recruiting class," said UND recruiting coordinator Joel Schwenzfeier, who saw Wright at the camp in Ames. "He really excelled at the Iowa State camp. He was going against our top guys and (Iowa State's) top guys and really dominated."

From there, UND invited Wright to come to Grand Forks for a camp. Wright came, although he was injured and didn't participate.


"That maybe benefited us, to keep him hidden from the summer circuit," Schwenzfeier said. "We were fortunate to hold on to him through the senior season he had."

Wright will likely have an opportunity to see the field as a freshman with the team's top receivers Noah Wanzek and Travis Toivonen being seniors in 2019.

"I think he has the ability skill-wise to play right away," Schwenzfeier said. "He can add a different dimension than we have. He's not a big kid, but he can do a little of everything. What he can do with the ball and make people miss is what has (UND offensive coordinator Danny Freund) excited."

Wright played since his freshman season for Regent Prep in Tulsa. His career numbers are staggering. He had 266 catches for 6,214 yards (23.36 yards per catch) and 112 touchdowns.

This year, he finished with 53 catches for 1,409 yards and 26 touchdowns. That production came despite a number of games ending at halftime due to an Oklahoma mercy rule.

Wright knows he's in a unique situation coming to Grand Forks from Oklahoma.

"People say 'Why would you want to freeze up there?'" Wright said. "It's a little weird, but I'm so excited to go up there. The staff is incredible. They've given me and opportunity to prove I can play and it's not just an 8-man football thing. There's a stigma against 8-man. In a sense, it's easier to score. I think that's a legit statement, but I feel like a lot of times there are 8-man guys overlooked by bigger programs. There's no hate to those other schools but there's a chip on the shoulder. I want to prove I can play."

When Wright was set to break the nation's all-time touchdown reception record, he and his coach Adam Bishop didn't want to stop the game to recognize the achievement but the two were overruled by administration. Every news station in Tulsa, as well as the two major newspapers in the area, were there to cover the event.


"He didn't even want to stop the game; that's the kind of kid he is," Bishop said. "He's a man among boys, and it's not just playing small schools. When he goes to camp, the 6A guys can't cover him, either. He's not just picking on small school kids. The thing is, he'll continue to get better. He'll add some weight and strength, and it's already rare one guy brings him down.

"He's just a great route runner and great with direction change. When he goes to camps and combines, the pro agility and three-cone drill times are off the chart."

For the second year in a row, Regent Prep lost in the state championship game earlier this month. Wright dislocated his knee in a non-contact move on Regent Prep's second offensive series.

"I tried to do a quick juke and planted weird," Wright said. "I went down and ended up missing the rest of the game. I'm getting an MRI this week but so far the two doctors I've went to said it's max three to four months, and I'll be starting rehab really quickly and it won't be a problem moving forward."

UND recruit Jack Wright of Tulsa, Okla., signs his letter of intent on Wednesday. Submitted photo.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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