In a league where the quarterback dominates most conversations, Jordan Wynn of the Utah Utes is a name that is staying under the radar, at least for now.
There’s been some talk about him being mentioned for all-conference honors, but all that’s speculative.
Instead all the attention is being heaped on Matt Barkley of USC or Stanford’s Andrew Luck, both NFL draft lottery prospects. Or, lesser known but equally talented players like Brock Osweiler of Arizona State.
Whatever the reason for the semi-snub of Wynn, the Pac-12 is loaded with quarterbacks who can stand tall over a pocket and hurl laser beams at receivers.
At 6-foot-2, Wynn is as tall as Barkley but two inches shorter and much lighter than the 6-4, 235-pound Luck. What’s more is he isn’t even in the same ballpark as the 6-foot-8 inch Osweiler.
But going into his third year as a starter, Wynn is simply known as a winner.
And that’s what the Utes expect him to do, even in a league where Utah is picked to finish in the middle of the conference’s South division.
What Wynn also is, above anything, is unassuming. Standing next to him, you would never think the guy led a Division I, perennial bowl contender and BCS-buster of yore.
The guy is a mix between Keanu Reeves with his long, stringy hair and Sean Penn’s lovable doofus of a character, the one and only Jeff Spicoli.
Both have that golly-gee attitude when you watch them on TV, and when you watch Wynn in the huddle, the Oceanside, California native is always yukking it up with his teammates.
It’s like he’s replaced his surfboard with a football.
Wynn by the numbers
YEAR G/GS COM ATT INT PCT YDS TD LONG
2009 6/5 104 179 4 .581 1329 8 69
2010 10/10 186 299 10 .622 2334 17 71
Totals 16/15 290 478 14 .607 3663 25
The guy likes to have a good time, and his teammates reportedly love the bro, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the fans must be thinking, “What gives?”
Is Wynn actually going to live up to his billing, and FINALLY lead these Utes, this team that has languished in mid-major bowl misery since Brian Johnson graduated, to some serious BCS glory?
Last year, Utah was embarrassed at Notre Dame, and flame broiled by the folks from TCU (Wynn did not play in the Las Vegas Bowl loss to Boise State), yet some people say this is the year of the Utes, despite the upwardly mobile but slightly harrowing move to the Pac-12 Conference.
What is going to happen when the Utes–also under new offensive coordinator Norm Chow, and with a new pro-style
offense–have to take on a Trojans team with a player like Matt Barkley?
To put things in perspective, the Utes played at a Notre Dame team that started Tommy Rees at QB. (He is now listed as a backup to the then-injured Dayne Crist.)
If that doesn’t scare Utah fans, nothing will. The only saving grace is that Utah is now out of the grasp of TCU, and won’t have to play Boise State. They also avoid Luck and Stanford and mighty Oregon, at least during the regular season.
Utah could face either team in the Pac-12 Championship, provided the Utes get there.
At the end of the day, the player who will get the Utes to that point is Wynn; there is no other alternative. JUCO transfer Jon Hays is a good player, and has had a decent fall camp, but he’s not Wynn.
When Wynn played and was healthy in 2010, he was solid, throwing for 2,334 yards and 17 touchdowns and had three 300-yard passing games. But when he went down with those injuries, first to his thumb and later his throwing arm, it was like you were watching a completely different Utah team.
Of course, anyone who’s followed Wynn knows about his injury history, and his inability to take Utah to a BCS bowl game is the measuring stick upon which he’ll be forever gauged, whether anyone cares to admit it or not.
He was the Poinsettia Bowl MVP as a freshman in 2009, and that’s impressive, but it’s not the Sugar Bowl.
Right now, the move to the Pac-12 is nothing but a big hug fest as the Utes gear up for their first historic season. Lose one game early, though, and this camaraderie will not only test the Utes as a whole, it may test Wynn’s patience despite being the easy-going California kid who doesn’t let anything rattle him.
According to insiders, Wynn is a candidate for all-conference honors, and is expected, especially under Norm Chow, to have the kind of junior season that will have people forgetting about Brian Johnson, and Alex Smith.
The Utes have protected Wynn from unnecessary hits during fall camp, and leading up to the season opener against Montana State this Thursday, he is the guy.
Everyone just wants to know how well his throwing shoulder has healed, and whether he’s capable of handling the pressure that will come every week from opposing 325-pound plus defensive linemen who also carry serious speed and bad intentions.
Well, the time has come to find out. Good or bad, right or wrong, a rude welcome to the Pac-12 is about to commence. Let the speculation ensue.