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USC DT Wright will enter NFL supplemental draft

LOS ANGELES (May 13, 2005) -- Southern California defensive tackle Manuel Wright, who was expected to help the Trojans replace their two best linemen, will enter the NFL supplemental draft.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Wright didn't participate in spring practice so he could concentrate on academics. He started two games last season as a sophomore.

Coach Pete Carroll, who has guided the Trojans to consecutive national championships, had expected Wright's decision.

"Based on Manny's performance in the classroom, we've been prepared for this for a while," Carroll said in a statement. "We wish him the best, but we're well prepared to move on.

"We had a number of players perform really well at the defensive tackle spot this spring and we have some new guys coming in that we're excited about."

Serving mostly as a backup to All-American Shaun Cody last season, Wright had 23 tackles, including six for loss, and recovered two fumbles while playing in 11 games.

USC is also replacing tackle Mike Patterson, who was a first-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Wright is eligible to go to the NFL because he has been out of high school for three years. He signed with USC in 2002, but did not qualify for admission so he spent that season as a part-time student at a junior college.

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