Travis Wilson, who was just named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, continues his improbable journey into the Utah history books. Only a sophomore, Wilson has already led the Utes to a win over BYU down in Provo and in the process has given the program a legitimate star at quarterback - something they haven't had since Alex Smith declared for the NFL draft at the end of the 2004 season.
Sure, he's not quite at the level of Smith, who led Utah to a BCS bowl victory and even made it all the way to the Heisman ceremony in New York, but for the first time in a tad under a decade, it feels like Utah really has something great lining up under center each week.
Don't get me wrong, I'll always cherish the memories Brian Johnson established with the Utes (specifically the 2008 season, which, mind you, is the greatest season in Utah football history) - but Wilson is different. He's special. He's the type of player who, beyond reason, has the both the confidence and ability to lead a team to greatness. Because of his leadership, and strengths, I believe the Utes will have a chance to win nearly every game on their schedule. He really is that good.
And he's only a sophomore.
I can't stress that enough. Think about that for a second because right now, BYU fans are throwing their sophomore quarterback under the bus.
Wilson, a sophomore, walked into LaVell Edwards Stadium and handed a legitimately tough Cougar defense their butts. While the final score was close, for most the game, it felt like Wilson could pretty much do whatever he wanted - whether it was running the ball or throwing down field. BYU had no real answer and because of that, even when they climbed back into it, you still felt comfortable because Wilson just seems to have that ability to turn it on when the team needs him most. He did it against Oregon State in a loss, single-handedly keeping the Utes in that game, and he did it again Saturday night. The difference, finally, was that he received backup from his defense.
Overall, he is the future of the program and because of that, everyone should be buying into Utah's high ceiling. With him leading the way, the potential is high and while I don't know if he'll ever surpass Smith in terms of greatness, right now, I feel confident in saying he'll easily establish himself as one of the Utah quarterback greats.
Saturday, against a stingy defense, Wilson was 24 of 35 for 273 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. It's not a gaudy stat-line, but it's an efficient one.
It's been a few years since Utah had such force and talent at the quarterback spot.
I said last week Wilson was establishing his legendary status. This weekend was an extension of that belief. He's growing up fast and because of that, it's hard to not get excited about what he'll offer this program over the long haul.
You know, last year was all about the future.
Guess what? The future is now.
I can't wait to see what he does against UCLA. Here's hoping for a great showdown and, more importantly, a signature win.
I believe. I believe in Travis Wilson.