The Wolfpacker

September 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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30 ■ THE WOLFPACKER TRACKING THE PACK NC State fifth-year senior Dexter Wright doesn't need a reminder of what is at stake this season. Wright is competing for the free safety position, which is the same situation he was in a year ago. Wright won the job but then got hurt against South Carolina in the season opener and missed the next three full games. He returned to action in a reserve role and eventu - ally won his starting his job back for the regular-season finale against North Carolina, registering seven tackles in 75 snaps. The 6-2, 229-pounder from Wilson, N.C., accumu- lated 17 tackles and two passes broken up in eight games played. Wright recently took some time with The Wolfpacker to discuss what it will be like to play his final season at NC State. What does your senior year mean to you? "This means everything. It is a chance to solidify my legacy here at NC State. I just want to go out here and have fun and make the most of the season." Does this script seem familiar in that you competed for a starting spot last, and are now doing it again? "It is a little bit of déjà vu. I'm just making sure that I'm doing everything I can to stay healthy and take care of my body. I'm just focusing on one play at a time and the plays that I am supposed to make. "I'm competing out here with [junior safety] Tim Kidd-Glass, but I'm not caught up with that. I'm focus - ing on myself and working on my craft as well." What were the last few games of your redshirt junior year like for you? "It was nice to finally get back in there. The coaches expressed how they believed in me and wanted me to come back in there and start for the team. "When you hear the coaches say that, it gives you a lot of confidence. You want to go out there and play as hard as you can for the seniors, and the guys I came in with my freshman year. I think I ended on a pretty good note." You are now with your third safeties coach over the last three years. What impact has co-defensive coor - dinator and safeties coach Ted Roof had? "Coach Roof is a great guy. Much like Coach [Aaron] Henry, he's honest with us and very patient. He tells us exactly what we need to hear, whether it is good or bad, and lets us know what we need to work on. "He tries his best to put us in good position to make the plays we are supposed to make, and even the plays we aren't supposed to make. He had done a great job since he has been here with us." What areas did Coach Roof challenge you to im - prove upon? "Definitely my pad level. I think last year I played really high for a safety. I just need to keep my pad level low. "When I need to get out of a break or make a tackle, I need to be in a good position where I can be successful." In the throes of competition, is it hard not to be thinking about wanting to start in the season opener against James Madison Sept. 1? "I can block it out because I'm just thinking about getting better every day. I also embrace it because the season is coming right around the corner, and I can't avoid that. "There is a lot of excitement. We are finally getting back to playing football. I feel like we just played our bowl game a week ago, and now we are right back in the season. I'm looking forward to everything up and running." You have earned your degree in social work. What do you want to do long term? "After football, I want to go back to school and get my master's. In social work, you have to get your master's. I want to go into the adoption agency or adoption field. "That is what The Bair Foundation, where I interned this summer, focuses on. Working with them this sum - mer, I saw the big impact they can have on kids. That is really something I'd like to do." What drives you about helping with the adoption process? "I was adopted myself. With social work, there is an unlimited amount of things you can do, but that definitely is what motivated me to pursue that course. "I was about 12 or 13 when my parents told me. I was adopted as a baby, so it's not a thing where I was in a group home and got moved from family to family. I was fortunate enough to grow up my whole life with the parents I have now. I am really grateful for that. "I didn't really search for my [biological] parents. My mom gave me a little information that she had. It's never been like a huge thing for me to go out and look for them. "I've had a great life. I know who my parents are, the ones who have taken care of me since I was a baby. That is all that I'm worried about." — Jacey Zembal In the regular-season finale versus North Carolina last year, Wright started at free safety, played 75 snaps and made a season-high seven tackles. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN Getting To Know: Fifth-Year Senior Safety Dexter Wright Quick Questions Go-to place to eat in Wilson, N.C.? El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant. I just get the ACP — chicken, rice and queso. It's pretty simple. Last good movie you watched? "The Purge" wasn't too bad of a movie. I would recommend it to everybody. Who would you like to see in concert? I have always wanted to go see The Weeknd. The Weeknd is more my chill side. Favorite class at NC State? My multi-cultural social work class. It put people in uncomfortable situations. We got to talk about people's life experiences — biases, racism, sexism and all that stuff. What other sport would you have liked to play in college? I was always pretty decent basketball. Android or iPhone? iPhone. Favorite road venue? I feel like everyone says Clemson. I remember my second year here, the best road venue was playing at Virginia Tech. They had really good fans, and the stadium was nice as well. What is your pet peeve? People that drive the exact speed limit in the fast lane. Favorite non-football athlete to watch at NC State? Michael Macchiavello, the wrestler. That is one of the sports I watch the most along with women's basketball. If you didn't go to NC State, who finished second in your recruitment? I only had three options — here, Carolina and ECU. I probably would have ended up at Carolina.

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