Former Panther Brandon Wright has kicked his way into the NFL

Football kicker kicking the football during a game
Brandon Wright, punter for Georgia State’s football team, kicks off the new season at the annual Spring Game at the Georgia State Stadium. Photo by Michael Pascale | The Signal

Many college football programs will often refer to themselves by their best position on the team. LSU football calls itself “Defensive Back U,” and the University of Georgia claimed the title “Running Back U.” Soon, Georgia State will be calling themselves “Kicker U” following former Panther Brandon Wright signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Wright joined offensive lineman Hunter Atkinson, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons as the only two Panthers in the 2020 NFL Draft to sign undrafted free agency contracts. 

Georgia State continues to show growth in its football program through the draft. For the second season in a row, the Panthers found a way into the NFL.

Wright had a breakout 2019 season, leading the Panthers to their best season in program history. He scored 84 points, breaking the single-season record by a single offensive player for the Panthers. He was also named to the All-Sun Belt Team in 2018 –– a bright spot in a season with very few positives. Wright was also a member of the 2015 squad that won the program’s first bowl game in 2015.

Former Panther and New Orleans Saints pro-bowl kicker Wil Lutz put Georgia State on the map and has had a huge impact on Wright. The two played at Georgia State in 2015, Wright’s freshman season and Lutz’s senior campaign. Lutz had a lasting effect on Wright as he showed Wright that making it to the NFL and becoming a pro-bowler is possible. 

“Being able to play with Lutz in his senior season was pretty cool,” Wright said. “Seeing him go through pro day training and then overcoming the obstacles he had to go through.”

When reflecting on his football journey, Wright looked back at his high school days at Kipp Atlanta Collegiate. Here, he learned that football does not come easy and he would have to grind to achieve his goals. 

Wright went from a high school that never had a football program to a college football program that has only existed for less than a decade. 

“The fact that my high school didn’t have a lot of resources similar to Georgia State, nothing was given,” Wright said. “There is no easy way around football, you have to take it and overcome adversity.” 

Wright went into April’s draft with both nervousness and a sense of excitement. While it was virtual due to the pandemic, it provided a monumental moment nonetheless. For Wright, the moment he had been waiting for since his freshman year had arrived. He was signed by Jacksonville after the draft marking another chapter in his career. 

“It was incredibly exciting,” Wright said. “Many people don’t understand what it means to invest yourself from the last collegiate game up until [your] pro day.” 

From the moment he stepped onto the field, Wright knew he would have to grind to reach his dreams. He has now reached a step that few Georgia State football players have achieved by making it to the NFL. 

Now comes his next challenge in making the roster come training camp.