NCF Nation: Anthony Wright

Season wrap: Air Force

December, 28, 2010
There is no question that coach Troy Calhoun has rejuvenated the program. Calhoun is the only coach to guide Air Force (9-4, 5-3 MWC) to four straight bowl games and four straight seasons of eight-plus wins. After its 14-7 win over Georgia Tech in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, Air Force won consecutive bowl games for the first time since the 1990 and 1991 Liberty bowls. Air Force has now won nine games for the second time since Calhoun took over four seasons ago. But better than all of that, the Falcons won the Commander-In-Chief Trophy for the first time since 2002 after beating Army and Navy this season. It was a season full of triumphs. Air Force successfully replaced all five starters on its offensive line. Tim Jefferson flourished at quarterback. Rick Ricketts and Reggie Rembert finished their careers with outstanding seasons. Players stepped up when injuries knocked down starters Jared Tew, Kevin Fogler, Ken Lamendola, Patrick Hennessey, and Wylie Wikstrom. And Air Force beat a team from the ACC for the first time since 1998.

Offensive MVP: QB Tim Jefferson. The junior finished the season with career highs for passing yards (1,342), passing touchdowns (10), rushing yards (769) and rushing touchdowns (15). Jefferson needs two more wins to pass Dee Dowis (1986-89) as the winningest quarterback in Air Force history.

Defensive MVP: CB Reggie Rembert. The heart of the defense, Rembert was named first-team All-Mountain West Conference for the second straight year. Rembert is the first Falcon to earn first-team honors in back-to-back seasons since offensive lineman James Norman in 1998-99. He was the only Air Force player to win first-team honors this season.

What’s next: A fifth straight bowl appearance should be expected with Jefferson, Asher Clark and Jonathan Warzeka returning to the offense, along with Jon Davis and Anthony Wright on defense. There are plenty of big shoes to fill, including Rembert, Rickets, Tew and Fogler. The schedule also features Notre Dame, along with the addition of Boise State. But Calhoun has proved to be an effective leader and in complete command of the program.
No. 16: Anthony Wright, DB, Air Force

2009 numbers: Led Air Force and was tied for third nationally with seven interceptions, including two he returned for touchdowns. Also had a punt returned for a score, 54 tackles, four tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

Making the case for Wright: Wright was a consistent threat in the Air Force secondary and often forced teams to change their game plan to keep the ball away from him. He had consecutive games against New Mexico, San Diego State and Navy with an interception and had three interceptions against Houston quarterback Case Keenum in the Armed Forces Bowl. Prior to that game, Keenum had only thrown nine interceptions all season. Wright will once again be one of the top defensive players for an Air Force defense that will be one of the best in the country.
Seven players from the nonautomatic qualifying schools have been named to the watch list for the Lott Trophy, an award that recognizes both on-field and off-field characteristics.

The Lott Trophy winner will be announced Dec. 12 in Newport Beach, Calif. The recipient receives $25,000 for his school's general scholarship fund, while three runners-up each receive $5,000 for their schools' scholarship funds.

Last season, TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes became the first player from a nonautomatic qualifying school to win the award.

Here’s a look at the non-AQs honored:

2010 Lott Trophy Watch List

Jeron Johnson, S, Boise State, 5-11, 194, Compton, Ca.
Tejay Johnson, S, TCU, 6-1, 212, Garland, Tx.
Josh McNary, DE, Army, 6-1, 225, Houston
Wyatt Middleton, S, Navy, 6-2, 208, Norcross, Ga.
Dontay Moch, DE, Nevada, 6-1, 245, Chandler, Az.
Andrew Rich, S, BYU, 6-3, 223, Ogden, Utah
Anthony Wright, CB, Air Force, 5-10, 190, Cleveland