Getting to know third-string Texas football QB Charles Wright

Charles Wright, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Charles Wright, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

There were plenty of positives to take away from the tough one-point loss for head coach Steve Sarkisian and Texas football at the hands of legendary head coach Nick Saban and the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Texas competed really better than anyone thought they would in a spot where the team faced some real controversy and hurdles that they had to overcome.

Sark and the Longhorns saw both quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers and junior Hudson Card, come up with various apparent injury issues in this game. And while it does appear that the clavicle sprain that Ewers suffered is more serious than Card’s ankle sprain, both could be very notable lingering issues that the Texas staff has to deal with for the rest of the season at the quarterback position.

It certainly does tamp down the excitement surrounding the way that the Longhorns were able to compete with the Crimson Tide this weekend that this team is dealing with so many injury issues.

The early prognosis on Ewers’ injury is that he will be out for around four or six weeks after suffering the clavicle sprain on his non-throwing shoulder. That is really unfortunate news for a quarterback that was looking very good in the one quarter he did play in against Alabama this weekend.

We also saw Card show incredible toughness and resilience in this game, as he fought through what looked to be a very painful lingering ankle sprain against a very good Alabama pass rush. But it also doesn’t look like an injury that will just go by the wayside in a short span of time for the Longhorns.

This begs the question as to what Sark and the Longhorns will do to find more depth in the quarterback room following these injuries to both Card and Ewers.

The first name that comes to mind when thinking about who has to step up in the next few weeks if Card is not able to go at any one point in time is redshirt freshman Charles Wright. The former Iowa State Cyclones commit and three-star Austin High quarterback recruit is a local product that is now in his second full year under Sark and QB coach AJ Milwee.

What can we expect to see from Wright if he is thrust into live-game action in the next few weeks and what should we know about him?

What to know about third-string Texas football QB Charles Wright

We’ll start by looking back at the recruitment of Wright coming out of high school. Wright was a three-star recruit coming out of Austin High in Austin, TX, that wasn’t very highly recruited outside of a few Power Five offers.

Wright held eight offers, half of which came from Power Five schools. The four P5 schools that offered him were the Arkansas Razorbacks, NC State Wolfpack, Texas, and Iowa State.

Moreover, Wright originally committed to head coach Matt Campbell and the Cyclones back in February 2020. Iowa State was his first Power Five offer, and he formed a good relationship early on with the Clones’ RB/WR coach Nathan Scheelhaase.

Wright held his commitment with Iowa State until Texas came calling in August 2020. What caused Texas to originally pursue Wright on the recruiting trail came about thanks to the commitment of Ewers to the Longhorns 2022 class.

Ewers committing to Texas in the 2022 class wound up having the impact of four-star quarterback Jalen Milroe de-committing in the 2021 class from the Longhorns. Milroe would essentially flip his commitment to Alabama within the next couple of weeks.

Former Texas head coach Tom Herman and his staff filled up the spot at the quarterback position in the Longhorns 2021 class that Milroe once held. And that’s where flipping the commitment of the 6-foot-1 and 202-pound Wright came into play.

Wright was recruited by former Texas offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. The skill set that Wright brought to the table as an underrated quarterback that had good accuracy and arm power on deep balls while still being able to consistently make the necessary intermediate and deep throws on the sidelines made him a good fit with the Yurcich offensive scheme.

Yurcich runs an air raid offense that can light up unsuspecting or overmatched opposing defenses thanks to his emphasis on the deep ball and ability to change the pace with some power runs up the middle in opportune and short-yardage situations.

Wright’s ability to make some impressive off-schedule plays and throws when the pocket breaks down is also something that stuck out to Yurcich and the Longhorns back during the summer of 2020.

However, it only took four months from the time that Wright committed to the Longhorns to see the head coach and offensive coordinator that recruited him at Texas to get fired. Herman was replaced by Sark as the Texas head coach in January 2021. That also meant that Yurcich was no longer the offensive coordinator at Texas.

Wright has stuck through the last two years under Sark, though.

So, what does the second-year local product Wright bring to the table in this Sark offense?

The first part of Wright’s game that will stick out on tape to Texas fans is his ability to throw a good deep ball on a consistent basis. He’s got good touch and anticipation on those deep passes, which is a pretty unique trait for someone that was rated as a three-star quarterback recruit.

Wright is also able to hit some of those deep throws with pressure coming in his face and even at times when he’s forced out of the pocket.

He does show the tendency to make flutter some balls at times, which would be dangerous against some of the better defenses that the Longhorns will face in the Big 12 this season.

Yet, Wright is also able to make some crafty off-schedule throws that can help his team when the pocket is breaking down. His ability to extend plays and make some of those intermediate throws on the run adds an extra component to his game that can make life tough on opposing defenses.

The ability to hit some deep throws and make some of these key off-schedule plays when the pocket is breaking down would certainly bring some real value to the Sark offense. Sark greatly values the ability to layer concepts in the passing game after setting the tone on the ground with star junior running back Bijan Robinson.

Wright’s timing and accuracy on deep balls would be a valuable commodity in Sark’s offense as he could help to open up some of the other aspects of his schemes. If he can hit those deep balls to the likes of star sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy and Co., that would force opposing defenses to respect that phase of this offense. In effect, that could open up some of the underneath routes and the ability to get some of the better athletes at the skill positions in space for Sark.

Once you get into the short and intermediate passing game, especially when throwing into tighter windows between the numbers, that’s where you can find some of the potential weaknesses in Wright’s game. Wright can lack the velocity and timing on those short and intermediate throws, especially in the middle of the field, that you would want to maximize the ability to get some of these Texas athletes out in space.

I do still believe that this part of Wright’s game remains a little bit of a mystery, as we don’t know how he’s developed since his high school football days. If Wright has improved his delivery and fundamental footwork in the pocket on some of those routine passing plays, he could be a serviceable quarterback in this phase of the game making these short and intermediate throws.

The last phase of Wright’s game I wanted to talk about is his running ability. Wright isn’t the greatest athlete in the world, and he won’t blow you away with the straight-line speed he brings to the table.

But Wright is a good enough athlete that he can evade the pocket and scramble on plays where the pocket is collapsing in front of him. He’s also got enough toughness and grit when running the ball that he’s able to convert on some of those short-yardage situations.

Think of a version of Shane Buechele that is a little bit slower in terms of straight-line speed, but runs with more power when considering what Wright brings to the table as a runner.

Wright does have enough functional athleticism to make some of those aforementioned off-schedule plays where he needs to get five or 10 yards with his legs. He also was decent running the occasional quarterback power at Austin High.

To sum this up, there are a lot of question marks that obviously come with the idea of Wright taking significant live-game reps at quarterback for Texas in the next few weeks. He does have some known aspects of his game that stand out, including his deep ball accuracy and ability to still come up with positive plays in the midst of chaos in the pocket.

But we don’t know how Wright will respond when thrust into a situation like Texas is currently facing at the quarterback position where this team has some difficult opponents on the schedule in the next few weeks.

Next. 4 takeaways from Texas' last second loss to Alabama. dark

Wright could be a significant name to know for the Longhorns moving forward, knowing the uncertainty that Texas is now facing at the quarterback position. Texas now could be looking at a situation where they need more out of either Wright or true freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy this fall than originally anticipated.