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The Wright Stuff

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Brandon Wright is more than just one of the most productive specialists in recent college football history

Just three qualified punters the last six years have averaged over 48 yards per try: Texas A&M's Braden Mann, Colorado State's Ryan Stonehouse and Brandon Wright of Georgia State. The Atlanta-native returns as one of the game's absolute best at his position and a bonafide All-American and Ray Guy Award candidate for this fall. Remarkably, Wright, who also kicks, is more than just one of the most productive specialists in recent college football history, he is a former walk-on, an accomplished student-athlete and a leader with an example to boot.

Entering his redshirt senior year, Wright will soon be starting for a fourth consecutive season for the Panthers. Already having set a number of program marks, he is poised to be Georgia State's career record holder in a number of different kicking and punting categories; this after following in the footsteps of current NFL standout Wil Lutz. Perhaps most impressively, Wright's recent punting average of 48.2 yards per attempt stands as a new single-season Sun Belt best, the 8th-highest mark ever in the FBS.

Wright joined Georgia State as a walk-on in 2015, redshirting before stepping into the lineup and ultimately, in 2018, earning a full scholarship. The opportunity was one Wright both chased -- and then made the most of.

Year one saw Wright prove clutch in one of the most important performances of the season, a 30-24 win over Georgia Southern. He, pressed into action, made a late field goal and pinned the Eagles deep in their own territory with an effective late punt. Wright nearly set a school record for punting with a 44.4-yard average as a sophomore, also converting 8-of-his-final-10 field goals of the season.  Last fall, Wright became the first Georgia State player in history to be named a semifinal for a national trophy, also earning first-team All-Sun Belt honors. In addition to Wright's punting records, he kicked a 52-yard goal at Appalachian State. 

Wright opened last season as one of the standout performers in Georgia State's victory over Kennesaw State. He proved true on a key 35-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, booming four touchdowns and averaging 53.8 yards on four punts, with three of them downed inside the 20-yard line. For an encore, Wright went on to average 56.3 yards per punt the very next week at North Carolina State.  

Now, Wright is one of the most accomplished specialists in the country.

Success has come both on and off the field for Wright. He, quite notably, earned Athletic Director's Honor Roll recognition in the fall of 2015, spring of 2017 and spring of 2019, making Dean's List for the fall of 2017 and making the Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll for 2015-16 and 2016-17. Walk-on to high-profile at Georgia State, Wright is also model for many, regardless of position. His role for the Panthers is a prominent one.  

Ten years after the start of the Georgia State football program, Wright is an ambassador for both that ambition and that growth. Having gone to high school roughly five miles from his current campus at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, Wright took an ambitious leap towards his goals; now, there are proud results to show. The process continues.

This is a career with milestones and memories alike. To date, Wright has 139 punts, 96 kickoffs, 56 extra points and 20 field goals. More is on the way. Those conversions have been in the works for years.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports