Colchester youngster Drey Wright has become the latest player from the youth academy to agree a first professional contract.
Wright was only midway through his apprenticeship when manager John Ward decided to move him through the ranks.
He is the sixth of last season's youth team to be given a professional deal, with Alex Gilbey also signing a year early.
"It was very pleasing to be offered a deal and it also came as a bit of a shock because I was expecting to have to do my second year as a scholar," Wright told the club's official website.
"All I want to do now is work with the first-team lads and develop my game. I don't really want to be dropping back into the youth team."