As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
Wright needs to play with better pad level and work on the use of his hands. If his hands are more active and he shows better punch, then he will be able to disengage better. He has the physical tools and athleticism to be an elite 2011 defensive tackle. He is quick enough to be a big defensive end in high school, but he is an interior guy on the next level. He still has a lot of room to improve with a lot of potential. - Chad Simmons, 247 Sports
Gabe Wright was already one of the top defensive lineman in the 2011 class, but when he committed to Auburn over Alabama, he became an immediate fan favorite of Tiger fans everywhere.
He swears it was in reference to him being the heir-apparent to Nick Fairley, and it definitely wasn’t a troll of Nick Saban. Nope. Not at all.
Though he suffered an injury in fall camp before his freshman season, Wright came to Auburn and played in the defensive line rotation immediately. While he didn’t stuff the stat sheets, he played in all 13 games, and even earned three starts at defensive tackle.
Unfortunately for the big time former 4* out of Columbus-Carver, Wright broke his foot in spring practice of 2012. He started off his sophomore campaign back in the rotation, but as the defense fell apart over the course of the 2012 season, Wright at least earned the starting role for the last five games of the season. Still, with just 19 total tackles and one sack, it was a disappoint season.
Wright was finally able to break out in 2013 (just like everything else Auburn), and started 11 of the team’s 14 games. He was huge in big spots in 2013, totaling 8 tackles, 1.5 TFL, and a sack against UGA and Alabama, and also had quite possibly my favorite hit of all time DURING the Kick Six.
Gotta keep your head on a swivel, kid.
As one of Auburn’s senior leaders in 2014, he more or less matched his 2013 production level. Like so many other defensive tackles, though, Wright’s job was just to help create opportunities for the rest of the front seven. Ever since Wright, you can trace a lineage of really solid tackles at Auburn who held this role and whose careers overlapped. As an upper-classmen, Wright helped develop a young Montravious Adams, who in turn paved the way for Dontavius Russell, who has now handed the torch to Derrick Brown. When Brown heads to the NFL after this year, I think it’s a safe bet that the next dominant defensive tackle at Auburn will be ready to rock. All of the aforementioned guys were drafted by an NFL team, and that lineage starts with Gabe Wright. And Coach Garner, obviously.
IN THE NFL
The NFL saw what Auburn fans did, and Wright was selected in the 4th round by the Lions in the 2015 Draft. In fact, Wright was drafted specifically as a replacement for Nick Fairley.
Wright hasn’t amounted to much more than a depth piece in the NFL so far, recording twelve tackles over four season and only one start. He did make news last August, though, when he was released from the Dolphins after getting in a fight with and punching running back Kenyan Drake.
I guess he just had too much Auburn in him.