Alabama Football News

Redshirt senior Daniel Wright to see increased time at safety for Alabama

Daniel Wright (#3) calling out defensive signals for Alabama versus Mississippi State
Picture by Crimson Tide photos

Daniel Wright is one of several fifth-year players that could have left the University of Alabama.

He endured a shoulder injury, had to learn the defensive system, has seen coaches come and go, and has been passed up in the secondary by younger players, yet he’s remained with the Crimson Tide. As a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Wright has been on two College Football Playoff National Championship teams (2017, 2020) and two Southeastern Conference title teams.

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He arrived in 2017 as a four-star athlete and has played in 51 career games since then.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has always possessed the physical skills to be a productive safety. Wright can make crushing hits, form tackles, pressure quarterbacks, and intercept passes.

He recorded two picks in 2020, including one for a touchdown versus Texas A&M at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Last week, he replaced DeMarcco Hellams at free safety in Alabama’s regular and dime defenses. Wright excelled against Mississippi State, totaling five tackles and limiting big plays.

Crimson Tide fans were pleased with his performance in the team’s 49-9 rout of the Bulldogs. Despite the playmaking abilities of Hellams, Coach Nick Saban said Wednesday that the junior has lingering effects from an ankle injury. Hellams got hurt in the final scrimmage of preseason camp and required surgery.

Saban has confidence in Hellams and Wright, but he’s had to cut Hellams’ reps.

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“They have both played good football,” Saban said.

“I thought DeMarcco has been a warrior all year long. He has been fighting through this, battling in practice, and overcoming adversity. He was doing everything he could to help the team. I also think if he can’t play at 100 percent, in some circumstances, we need to protect him. We need to allow him to get back to 100 percent. We have tried to cut down his reps in the last couple of weeks. We still have confidence in him playing in games, and he will play in games. He may even start in a game — because we view him as a starter — but last week against a spread offense, we wanted to make sure we had fast, healthy guys that could cover ground. DeMarcco does these things well, but you have to be 100 percent to do it. We are trying to get him there.”

Brian Branch was listed as the backup free safety in the week one depth chart.

He is also the backup to Malachi Moore at the star position in nickel. Branch will get an opportunity to start more at some point, but Wright’s playing time is about to increase.

As the younger brother of Major Wright, Daniel’s time has arrived to be more impactful.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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