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Scooby Wright declares for NFL draft

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III thanks the support of the crowd while receiving the Defensive Player of the Game award after the New Mexico Bowl NCAA college football game against New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. Arizona won 45-37. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright announced he would enter the NFL Draft following the Wildcats’ 45-37 victory Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.

Playing in his first game since injuring his foot in September, Wright had 15 tackles and two sacks including a huge one on New Mexico quarterback Austin Apodaca on fourth down to halt a key drive by the Lobos midway through the fourth quarter.

Wright also came up big on what ended up being his final play as a Wildcat when he applied pressure to Apodaca — forcing the pass early and into the hands of Arizona defender Cam Denson to secure the win with about 35 seconds left in the game.

Wright won the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards as the nation’s top defensive player in 2014, but has been limited to just three games this season.

Wright suffered a meniscus injury in the season opening 42-32 win over UTSA on Sept. 3 that caused him to miss the following two weeks. He returned for the UCLA game in September but then was lost for the rest of the year until Saturday.

The 6-foot-1 inch, 246-pound junior walk on from Windsor, California finished his Wildcat career with 161 tackles and 17 sacks.

According to’s Chase Goodbread, Wright is projected to be a third-round pick at best and one NFL executive compared him to former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, who was a seven-time Pro Bowler despite being a fifth-round draft selection.

Wright joins other top juniors from the Pac-12 in USC’s Su’a Cravens and UCLA’s Myles Jack who are planning to enter in the spring draft.

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