QB Wynn bulks up, ready to show he can lead Utes
The tattoo on Jordan Wynn’s left biceps was designed as a
tribute to his late grandmother.
That it now stands out shows how far the Utah quarterback has
come since having a second season-ending shoulder surgery in 10
”We’d tease him (because) it used to wrap all the way back to
the back,” Utes wide receiver DeVonte Christopher said of how the
tattoo encircled Wynn’s atrophied arm. ”Now it’s center-face; so
In the quarterback-driven Pac-12 Conference, the Utes will need
Wynn to be good to compete again for the South Division title.
Not only is the 6-foot-2 junior healthy, he’s bulked up to 208
pounds, has a cleaner throwing motion, is throwing downfield with
more zip and has a couple of talented freshmen pushing him.
Wynn has competed in spring football practices without any
restrictions – unlike a year ago when he was coming off surgery on
his right (throwing) arm. In a second spring scrimmage, he was 7 of
12 for 149 yards and a touchdown, including completions of 43, 42
and 28 yards.
Next up is Saturday’s annual Red-White spring game.
”I’m actually able to lift on both my arms,” Wynn said after a
recent practice. ”This is the first time in a while.”
Wynn actually has had three shoulder operations: on his left
after the 2010 spring game, on his right in December 2010, which
kept him out of the Las Vegas Bowl; and on his left again in
October, ending his season.
”Body-wise I feel so much more balanced,” Wynn said. ”Going
from left surgery to right surgery to left surgery, you lift on one
side each time and become very uneven in terms of balance. I feel
good, I’m balanced and I’m heavier. I can hang in the pocket and
make a throw now.”
He already had a solid record, going 13-6 as Utah’s starter,
with 4,390 career yards passing and 31 touchdowns. Having zip on
the ball and the experience has bumped him to the top of Utah’s
depth chart. That’s the case even though the Utes signed two
talented freshmen in 6-6 Travis Wilson and 6-3 Chase Hansen, and
return Jon Hays, who filled in admirably last season and rallied
the Utes to a Sun Bowl victory.
”I’m very proud of him, where he’s at and the way he’s leading
the team,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said of Wynn. ”The added
weight is to make him a more durable player. He’s had a history of
injuries, but we’re hoping that’s behind him.”
Wilson and Hansen are listed as Wynn’s backups.
”Jordan is our starter,” said Brian Johnson, Utah’s 2008 Sugar
Bowl quarterback, who took over as offensive coordinator after Norm
Chow left for Hawaii. ”It doesn’t mean that people can’t compete
It’s helped that both freshman graduated high school early and
are able to participle in spring drills.
Hansen already was familiar with Utah, growing up in Highland
and having led Lone Peak High School to state championships in
football and basketball. He has attended youth camps for years,
allowing Utah’s staff to build a relationship with him.
”He’s a winner, he’s a grinder,” Johnson said of Hansen, also
more of a runner than Wilson.
Wilson has the prototypical size, and he performed well last
weekend, completing 6 of 8 passes for 56 yards and rushing for two
”Travis Wilson has been an absolute great person to have in
camp,” Johnson said. ”He’s made so many strides. He’s a guy that
is going to be a special player for us.”
A year ago, the Utes may have been the thinnest in the league at
the quarterback position. Now they have depth.
”I definitely feel like I’m pushing Jordan,” Wilson said.
”That’s what I want to do – get him better and he’s making me
Last year, one freshman quarterback showed what he could do in
the Pac-12. Oregon State’s Sean Mannion passed for 3,332 yards and
16 touchdowns – with four 300-yard games – but also threw 18
The Utes are hoping they don’t have to go that route if Wynn
”Jordan looks sharper this time around coming off the injury
than he did last year for some reason,” said Christopher, who led
Utah in receiving in 2011 with 42 receptions for 663 yards. ”He’
put on a lot of weight, looks like a whole different
Last season, Utah got off to a rough start in its first season
competing in the Pac-12. The Utes were 2-2 when Wynn got hurt, but
rallied behind Hays to finish 8-5 They would have represented the
South in the augural Pac-12 title game had they not stumbled in the
regular-season finale against Colorado.
Winning the South Division is ”always the goal,” Wynn said.
”There are a lot of good teams in the South, and a lot of good
coaches came in. It’s an exciting time. We’ve got to go out and
compete and take it.”