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Austin High quarterback Charles Wright ready for next chapter

Austin High quarterback Charles Wright originally committed to Iowa State, but when the Longhorns offered him a scholarship this summer, he jumped at the chance. He said he has been a Texas fan since he was four or five years old.

Charles Wright etched his name into Austin High history over his high school career. On Wednesday, he signed his name onto a national letter of intent to move his career up the road — literally, for Texas. 

Wright threw for more than 8,000 yards and accounted for more than 100 touchdowns in a varsity career that spanned parts of four seasons. He took over full-time as a sophomore, passing for 2,510 yards and 27 touchdowns. He upped that production to 2,862 yards as a junior.

In a pandemic-altered season in 2020, he led Austin High to the bidistrict round of the Class 6A playoffs by throwing for 2,759 yards and 31 touchdowns. 

“Always believe in yourself. Anything is possible," Wright said after his signing ceremony at House Park, the stadium that Wright has called home since middle school.

"A lot of people will doubt you and not believe in you, but the important thing is to stay true to yourself and to never give up," he said. “Go to work. You can’t lie about that because on Thursday and Friday nights, it is going to show. Do everything you can to achieve your dreams.” 

Austin High quarterback Charles Wright signs his national letter of intent on Wednesday at House Park in Austin. He was the only quarterback signed in the Longhorns' 2021 recruiting class on the first day of the early signing period.

Wright’s dream was to play football for the Longhorns. A life-long Austin native, he said he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t closely following the UT program. He has attended big games. Now he hopes to play in them. 

“At four or five, I probably would have gone crazy (if I knew that I’d be playing football at Texas). I’m truly blessed to be in this situation,” Wright said. “When I was four and five years old, Texas football was what my life was about. It is a big part of my life.”

Wright's passion for Texas football never wavered, even when he was formerly committed to Iowa State. His Colt McCoy posters remained on his wall. The Longhorns eventually called this summer with an offer when former pledge Jalen Milroe backed away in favor of Alabama.

"Obviously we think the world of Charles," Texas coach Tom Herman said Wednesday. "He's gonna fit right in with our culture."

Wright didn’t take long to jump on the opportunity, but he didn’t do so with haste. 

“It was tough to flip from Iowa State because I had a really good relationship with those coaches," he said. "I talked to them nearly every day about life outside of football. Being close to home was a big part for me. I didn’t think this opportunity would be available to me when Texas had other commitments at quarterback, so I was grateful to have that opportunity and get a chance to play at Texas.”

Austin High head coach Mike Rosenthal credits Wright with helping to turn around his program. 

“I always knew he was special," Rosenthal said. "When the recruiting process took flight, I hoped he got to a place that wanted him and a place that would be a good fit for him. Both of those things happened for Charles.

“Everything he’s got in life, he worked for and earned. That is what is so cool about today. It is a lot of hard work that he put together throughout his life. That hard work paid off.”

Rosenthal once signed a national letter of intent to play at Notre Dame. He was eventually drafted by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the NFL draft. His advice for Wright is the same as the advice he received early in his career. 

“Keep your mouth shut and work hard,” Rosenthal said. “Treat each practice as one practice. Don’t look ahead and get overwhelmed. You’re going to have rough days. You can’t let those rough days turn into rough weeks.”