The name Dantrell Savage is a familiar one for Jordan High football fans.
The running back played for the Red Jackets until 2003, before going on to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and then Oklahoma State, where he rushed for 2,092 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons. He also went on to play with the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL.
He's also the last football player from the school to go on to play major Division-I college football. Current Jordan linebacker Markus Wright is looking to add his name to that exclusive list.
Wright made a verbal commitment to California on Monday night, choosing the Bears over a number of other offers, including Air Force, Army, Florida A&M, Navy and South Alabama. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound rising senior said the school's academics was the most attractive aspect, but the bond he made with the coaches and players and the prospect of playing in the Pac-12 Conference were too enticing to pass up.
"The No. 1 public institution in the nation is hard to say no to," Wright said of the school's academic record. "But I also bonded with the coaches and the players and got a lot of information about the school."
Wright said that colleges took notice of his ability at camps, but the main way in which he got his name out there was through a proactive approach with college coaches.
"I would go home and email about 10 colleges each night just to put my name in their ear and wait for someone to give me an opportunity," Wright explained, adding that he thinks coaches responded well to his tenacity.
Wright is well-spoken and accomplished both on and off the football field. On the field, he recorded 95 tackles and seven sacks as a junior, earning a nod on the All-Bi-City first team. Off the field, he was the student government vice-president and held a 3.75 grade point average.
"Obviously, to be at that level you have to have the physical talent and size, which he does," Jordan coach Jim Brown said. "But he's also smart and knows the game and studies it. He does all the right things, he's coachable and he's got great character. All those things play into it."
At the next level, Wright said he projects as an outside linebacker, but could have flexibility depending on how his body adjusts at the next level.
"They like me as an outside linebacker, either strong or weak side," he said. "If I gain some weight, they can put me in the middle, or if I stay the same but get a little stronger, maybe at strong safety."
For now, though, he, his mom and Brown are focused on the immediate future.
"It was just a huge relief, I think, for all of us," Wright said. "I was starting to stress over it the past couple weeks, and I just wanted to make the right decision."
"I've told him, 'Just stay humble,' " Brown said. "That's the main thing. Continue what he's doing. His improvement over the summer has been tremendous. So, I expect him to really turn out and do a great job this year. Even better than what he had last year. I already see the improvement in him."
David Mitchell, Follow David on Twitter@leprepsports