Gophers recruit Jaydon Wright loves how P.J. Fleck's offense has been featuring the running game so far this season with freshman Darius Taylor.
Taylor, winner of back-to-back Big Ten freshman of the week awards, ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing through three games.
Wright, a Bishop McNamara (Ill.) senior running back, knew the Gophers were the right fit when he committed in February, but he's even more excited now to join the U's rushing attack.
"Darius Taylor is killing it right now in the run game," Wright told the Star Tribune. "Their run game really fits me going downhill and being fast-paced. I really like it a lot. What also attracted me is the culture Coach Fleck built there."
Fleck and the Gophers were thrilled to get Taylor away from the state of Michigan last year. Wright appears to be another steal in the U's 2024 recruiting class. The 6-foot, 220-pound Illinois native has been punishing defenders so far this season.
In Wright's first game this season, he had 152 total yards and three touchdowns while also recording 15 tackles on defense, including two sacks. In a 26-12 comeback win vs. Christ the King in Chicago last week, he rushed for three touchdowns in the second half, including a 70-yarder.
"I don't think I've ever seen someone play a more complete and dominant game than he did," Bishop McNamara coach Bob Kelly said. "He's fantastic. He's everything you could ever ask for in a senior leader. He's had a great first four weeks, and we're getting in the meat of our schedule now."
Wright has been far from 100% healthy since he suffered a high-ankle sprain in the second game of the season. He had to be helped off the field after what appeared to be a severe injury in the first half Sept. 1 against Herscher, but he wasn't out of the game for long.
"I was struggling at first when the injury happened and I couldn't walk on it," Wright said. "But I saw my teammates really needed me."
After being stuffed twice on the goal line, Bishop McNamara got a lift from their star tailback whom everyone thought was sidelined.
"Next thing you know he went jogging out there," Kelly said. "I didn't even see him, so we had to change our call in the huddle and find a way to give it to him. He found a way to score. That game was tough for him because he was limited. His ankle was swollen. But he gutted through it."
Most defenders avoid taking Wright head on because of his physical style, but he's a combination of power and speed when running the ball. His favorite NFL players to watch include Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley.
"I love contact running straight downhill at somebody," Wright said. "In the second half nobody wants to keep tackling me, so it goes to my advantage. I just run through people. I can catch a pass and make something big happen, but I also can be a powerhouse."