Bishop McNamara’s Jaydon Wright picks Minnesota

It’s quite an understatement to say Bishop McNamara junior running back Jaydon Wright comes from a sports family.

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Bishop McNamara running back Jaydon Wright (22), who set program single-game records of 447 yards and eight touchdowns last season, has committed to Minnesota.

Bishop McNamara running back Jaydon Wright (22), who set program single-game records of 447 yards and eight touchdowns last season, has committed to Minnesota.

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It’s quite an understatement to say Bishop McNamara junior running back Jaydon Wright comes from a sports family.

‘‘My mother, my grandfather, my uncle — they were all great athletes,’’ Wright said.

And that doesn’t even get into his cousins. One, Jonathan Ward, is a running back for the NFL’s Titans. Another, Chris Autman-Bell, is a wide receiver at Minnesota.

In a few months, Wright and Autman-Bell will be teammates after the former announced his commitment to the Gophers.

The family angle wasn’t the only reason for the 6-foot, 220-pound Wright’s decision. Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck’s Illinois roots — he played at Kaneland and played and coached at Northern Illinois — helped. So did the love the Gophers showed him.

‘‘The main thing that stood out for me was the coaches, the building personal relationships,’’ Wright said.

One thing that likely stood out for Fleck and his staff was Wright’s ability to gain yards in big chunks. Against Aurora Central Catholic last fall, Wright set program records with 447 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Ward had held the old record with seven touchdowns, and Wright broke it on Ward’s birthday.

Wright, who’s the 21st-ranked Illinois junior in the 247Sports composite rankings and the 88th-ranked running back nationally, has been playing football since he was 3 years old — even though that was on the down low.

‘‘I wasn’t supposed to play [that young],’’ he said. ‘‘But I was so strong and big, they said, ‘He can play.’ ’’

Wright always played more than football, and — bucking the high school specialization trend — still does. He averaged 6.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals for the McNamara boys basketball team.

This spring, he’s participating in two sports: baseball and track and field.

In track, his combination of speed and strength allows him to compete in an unusual mix of events. He runs the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes and is part of the 800 relay. He also is a shot putter.

‘‘I try to balance it out as best as I can,’’ Wright said. ‘‘I love staying busy. I love to compete, and I love being part of a team.’’

Coaching moves

Three-time state champion Brent Pearlman has been hired as the head coach at Grayslake Central.

Pearlman led Prospect to Class 7A titles in 2001, 2002 and 2005. He went 104-34 with the Knights in 1999-2010.

He also was the head coach at Wheeling in 2012-16, going 17-29 and guiding the Wildcats to their only IHSA playoff berth in the last 15 years.

Grayslake Central reached the second round of the Class 6A playoffs each of the last two seasons under Michael Maloney, who resigned after last season.

Derek Hart, who led Kankakee to a runner-up finish in Class 5A in 2021, resigned to take over as the head coach at Indianapolis North Central.

The Kays’ new coach is Miles Osei, who spent the last six seasons at Elk Grove. Last fall, he led the Grenadiers to their first IHSA playoff berth since 2014.

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