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Zach Wilson college timeline: How BYU QB went from little spotted to unmistakable in 2021 NFL Draft

Zach Wilson

The BYU quarterback exploded in 2020 for 33 touchdowns with just 3 interceptions, adding another 10 rushing touchdowns, building his resume of first-round talent at QB2 in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Whether it’s through his dazzling ball-type play in the schoolyard or his baby-faced assassin appearance, Wilson’s meteoric rise in the NFL Draft has placed him firmly in the conversation for pick. # 2 this year.

MORE: Top 10 QB Ranking in 2021 NFL Draft

Scouting reports all read the same thing about Wilson: cannon arm, precise, the ability to improvise and make off-platform throws, good processor, but questions about his build, the competition played, leadership and athletics in general crept in.

Needless to say, analysts, reviewers, and others love Wilson’s game; They love him so much that he has matched Justin Fields as the consensual QB2 in the draft, with some even believing he is the de facto QB1 in the draft. We can probably pump the brakes on this.

Before Wilson heard his name called on the big Cleveland stage, here’s how he got there:

Zach Wilson Timeline

June 12, 2017: Wilson, a notable quarterback from Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, verbally engages in Boise State. Wilson plans to graduate from high school early to take a leap in his college career.

October 2017: Even with a commitment to BYU, Wilson receives offers from other schools, including Cal, Minnesota, Utah State, and Iowa. Not exactly a who’s-who of college football’s powerful programs.

December 13, 2017: After an official visit to the school, Wilson decides not to enroll in Boise State and instead receives offers from other schools.

December 21, 2017: Wilson agrees and signs a letter of intent with BYU during the early signing period.

August 9, 2018: Wilson gets his first action as a Cougars quarterback, attempting two assists and finishing one against McNeese State.

October 13, 2018: Wilson gets his first start as a BYU quarterback against Hawaii. He passed 16 of 24 for 194 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the win. He becomes the youngest starting quarterback in BYU history.

October 27, 2018: In a game against Northern Illinois State, Wilson is in the SportsCenter top 10 after dodging one defender, passing through another and arming a third. The obstacle-rigid arm combination will be played ad infitum over the next few years.

December 21, 2018: One year to the day that Wilson signed up for BYU, he spent a perfect 18v18 in Idaho’s famous potato bowl (yes, that’s a real bowl), crushing West Michigan. He notched 317 yards and four touchdowns in the effort. He ends his run as a BYU quarterback with 12 three-interception touchdowns, 1,578 yards in nine games.

August 29, 2019: On BYU media day, Wilson admits he played with a labrum problem in his thrown shoulder from high school and had it surgically repaired in December. Wilson also says he has a labral tear in his non-throwing shoulder that will eventually require surgery.

September 28, 2019: In a game against Toledo, Wilson throws an interception and, tackling the defender, breaks his thumb on his throwing hand. He undergoes surgery during the week to have it fixed and misses more than a month.

December 24, 2019: Not quite the Christmas present Wilson was probably hoping for: In a Hawaii Bowl loss to Hawaii, Wilson throws two interceptions in the season finale. He struggled with labrum recovery and thumb injury during the year, ending his 2019 season with 2,382 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Wilson was, however, named the BYU MVP for the season.

August 31, 2020: After some doubts as to whether Wilson would be named a starter for his junior season at BYU, he is listed as QB1 on the team’s depth chart ahead of the season opener against the Navy.

October 16, 2020: Wilson has perhaps the best game of his BYU career, with 400 yards and four touchdowns against Houston. It goes 25 out of 35 that day.

December 22, 2020: In his last game as BYU Cougar, “Zach the Ripper” shreds UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl, throwing three touchdowns on the day for 425 yards, adding two more rushing scores. He ends the 2020 season with 33 touchdowns to three interceptions and 10 more rushing touchdowns. Wilson wins the highest season with the Pro Football Focus rating.

January 1, 2021: To ring in the new year, Wilson heralds a new era: he declares himself for the 2021 NFL Draft on Twitter.

March 27, 2021: On BYU Pro Day, Wilson puts on a show. Jaws drop when he nails a post-road bomb that sails over 50 yards.

April 29, 2021: With the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select …

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