Utah Utes football: Jordan Wynn ready to step up

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 9 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn and offensive lineman John Cullen during practice at the U of U baseball field in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Wynn has lofty aspirations as the Utah Utes head into the Pac-12. The junior is eager to make his mark in the "conference of quarterbacks" where Heisman Trophy candidates like Andrew Luck of Stanford, Darron Thomas of Oregon and Matt Barkley of USC reside.

"I'm not a freshman, I'm not a sophomore, any more. My clock is ticking," Wynn said. "I've got two years left to really assert myself and what better way than in the conference of quarterbacks."

Wynn is not only determined to rank among the elite players in the conference, he's got his sights set on the nation as well.

"It's time for me to step up," he said.

After having surgery on his throwing shoulder in December, Wynn has worked hard to prepare himself for the opportunity to lead Utah's offense into the Pac-12.

"I love it. I want to be in this conference. I want to assert myself into this talk of great QBs," he said. "I'm going to go out and try to do it. There's some great QBs in there but I want to be up there with them."

Although Wynn was unable to throw the ball in spring practices and has been limited in fall camp for precautionary reasons, new offensive coordinator Norm Chow has been impressed with his work ethic and knowledge of the game.

"He's a bright, bright guy," Chow said while acknowledging Wynn's desire to be one of the Pac-12's top signal callers.

Getting Wynn to an elite level with Barkley, Luck and Thomas, Chow explained, is a goal shared by everyone involved.

Wynn is 11-4 as Utah's starter. He's completed 290-of-478 passes for 3,663 yards and 25 touchdowns in his career running the Utes' spread offense.

Chow's arrival, though, has been accompanied by change. Wynn will be under center more often, running an offense similar to what he directed in high school.

"Coach Chow is very, very high on Jordan," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who added that Wynn is poised to get the job done this fall.

"I've got no doubt that he will. He's very mature. He understands the game inside and out. He's a football junkie," Whittingham said. "He loves football. He's in the film room constantly. He's what you look for intangibly in your quarterback."

Utah quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson agrees. He said Wynn is more than capable of being one of the Pac-12's elite players at the position.

"Absolutely. He's just as talented as those guys and I think the mental preparation that he puts into a game is second to none," he explained. "That guy studies his tail off every single day. He's a football junkie. He has the talent to be there and I think the thing that will separate him is his work ethic, his toughness and his leadership. So I think he has all the components to put everything together and have a great season."

How great? Great enough to be mentioned along with conference stars like Barkley, Luck, Thomas and Arizona's Nick Foles?

"We'll find out. Time will tell," Whittingham said. "But that would be ideal if we can get him in the same conversation as those guys."

Wynn vows to be more vocal this season and carry a greater leadership role with the team. The 21-year-old is coming of age.

"He understands the importance of this season and the importance he has in us being successful. He's a leader," Johnson said. "He's grown into a leader and I think the guys are really rallying around him."

Wide receiver Reggie Dunn has noticed a change in Wynn's demeanor this year.

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