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In a sea of QBs, Zach Wilson is making waves

Zach Wilson is riding high on a wave of scrutiny, hype and adoration leading up to the NFL draft

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Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) signs an autograph for a young fan after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

This article was first published as the Cougar Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Tuesday night.

Zach Wilson is receiving more pre-NFL draft hype than any BYU quarterback since Marc Wilson in the late ’70s. Is it deserving? Will it subside?

In this piece, I break down the wave of praise Wilson is receiving of late. No, it is only going to keep rising as he is targeted to be the No. 2 player taken in the draft, the second quarterback drafted, projected to go to the New York Jets.

This year’s draft will be a QB-heavy first round, and teams are anxious to get their hands on this class. In this breakdown, Ryan McDonald explores what Wilson will need to do to succeed. If Jacksonville indeed selects Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence over Wilson at No. 1, here is what Wilson can expect from being in New York.

Cougar Insider Predictions

Question of the week: Predict who will make the biggest impact on BYU football this coming season. You can’t say it is a quarterback, although that is probably the No. 1 influencer.

Jay Drew: Outside of a quarterback, the biggest influencer on the BYU football team this year will be running back Tyler Allgeier. He had a big impact last year, but his performances were overshadowed by Zach Wilson’s incredible year. As BYU turns to an unproven QB in 2021, look for Allgeier to take on a huge role within the offense. It will be three times more difficult without a veteran offensive line and weapons who have moved on such as Dax Milne and Wilson.

But Allgeier showed explosiveness and power last year in rushing for more than 1,000 yards. Other candidates are Isaac Rex and the Nacua brothers, Samson and Puka.

Dick Harmon: I agree with Jay about Allgeier, he’s due for a big year. But he’s going to ease into his role with a rebuilt offensive line. In the meantime, whoever the quarterback is, he’ll need dependable targets and he’ll find that in Gunner Romney and Neil Pau’u. But I think some of the easiest throws while waiting for Allgeier to mesh with a new offensive line coach and blockers will be at the tight end position, led by 12-touchdown freshman Isaac Rex. He is a huge, dependable weapon who gave a redline performance with Wilson last year while getting his legs back from missionary service. In tandem, I see Dallin Holker also delivering a huge role immediately after his mission. Together, I think these weapons will be huge for the new QB in the early going and a very tough September.

Cougar Tales

BYU shooting guard Connor Harding just landed at Utah Valley University after putting his name in the transfer portal with three other Cougars. I detail this transfer portal impact on teams in this piece.

It looks like Cincinnati transfer guard, freshman Mike Saunders will make an announcement on his college choice on April 15. BYU is reportedly in his final three after a series of virtual interviews with Mark Pope and his staff. 

The state is producing a lot of interest in portal action this spring.

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Extra Points


Comments from Deseret News readers

I hope every player’s locker displays this silk screened onto dirty, grass stained wrap tape, We haven’t arrived, We haven’t DONE anything YET

And they all know what it means, and who said it. …

— energyguy

Highest AP/Coaches Final Rankings during the CFP era:

#11/#11 BYU (11-1) 2020

#16/#16 Utah (11-3) 2019

BYU ended the 2020 season with a dominating bowl win.

Utah ended the 2019 season with back-to-back face plants.

— BlueCoug

Up Next

April 12-14 | TBA | Men’s golf | Western Intercollegiate | @Santa Cruz, California

April 14 | 6 p.m. | Softball | vs. Utah Valley | @Provo

April 15 | 5 p.m. | Softball | vs. Southern Utah | @Provo

April 15-17 | 6 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Omaha | @Omaha, Nebraska

April 15 | TBA | Women’s volleyball | Rider/UCLA | @Omaha, Nebraska

April 16 | 10 a.m. | Men’s tennis | vs. San Francisco | @San Francisco

April 16-17 | TBA | Track & field | Idaho State Invitational | @Pocatello, Idaho

April 17 | 2 p.m. | Men’s tennis | vs. Utah | @Provo

April 17 | 1 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Portland | @Provo

April 17 | 2 p.m. | Women’s tennis | vs. San Francisco | @San Francisco

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Tampa Bay had the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jacksonville holds the No. 1 pick.