Utah Utes football: New recruit great fit for Norm Chow's system

Published: Tuesday, May 17 2011 9:45 a.m. MDT

Travis Wilson didn’t know what to expect when he embarked on his unofficial trip to Utah. After receiving his first scholarship offer from Washington this past February, the offers came fast and furious and Utah was just one of eight.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound quarterback prospect knew that Norm Chow is Utah‘s offensive coordinator. Having grown up in San Clemente in Southern California, Chow was a bit of a legend in his mind.

Chow’s resume is one of the most impressive there is in regards to coaching great quarterback talent. The list of players he’s helped coach includes such players as Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Ty Detmer, Phillip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.

“I was definitely excited to get to meet Norm Chow there and learn more about how he runs things,” said Wilson. “He‘s obviously a great quarterbacks coach and has coached some of the best, so the opportunity to meet him, and maybe play for him was a very exciting thing for me.”

Wilson took his unofficial trip to Utah during the first week of April and immediately found a program that offered a lot more beyond a legendary offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“I liked everything about Utah on my visit,” he said. “Norm Chow was great and I really got along with him well, but it was the other coaches, too. Coach (Aaron) Roderick was the coach who was my main recruiter, and I’ve really grown to respect him, and I love Coach (Kyle) Whittingham. He’s someone totally dedicated to the program and to his players, and I know he’ll be there the entire time I’m at Utah.”

Wilson left his official trip without giving the Ute coaching staff a commitment, and soon embarked on more visits while receiving more scholarship offers.

“No matter who offered me, I couldn’t get more excited about them as I was about Utah,” he said. “Utah was always the first school in my mind after my visit, and that wouldn’t change no matter which schools offered me, and I don’t think it would have changed even if I waited longer and received even more offers.”

His offer list beyond Utah, Washington and Colorado included such schools as Arizona, Arizona State, Iowa State and UCLA. Many more offers were likely to come, had he elected to finish out the national summer camp circuit, but he decided to forgo that, committing to sign with Utah late last week.

“I was always going to decide before my season started, but I think I committed even a bit earlier than I expected to,” he said. “It was just because I liked Utah so much and grew to realize that they would always be my top school no matter what.”

Like most recruits, Wilson is very excited to join the Ute football program as it enters Pac-12 play. With his hometown being in Southern California, it will be a great chance for his family members to see all of his games.

“I would have committed to Utah even if they weren’t in the Pac-12,” he said. “But it’s obviously great for me because they are. Growing up where I did I’ve watched a lot of the schools I’ll be playing against. I’ll be able to go home and play UCLA and USC some years, but no matter what conference Utah was in, I would have committed there.”

The reason to play in Utah had a lot to do with the system he’ll be playing in. Chow runs a classic pro-style offense that definitely caters to Wilson’s strengths as a quarterback.

“Travis will thrive under the coaching of Norm Chow at quarterback,” said his high school coach Eric Patton. “He is extremely intelligent and plays a smart game of football. He’s an extremely hard worker who takes football very seriously. He prepares meticulously and thoroughly.”

Wilson was ranked as the No. 17 quarterback prospect for 2012 by scout.com and was rated as a four-star prospect by rivals.com. While he’s a classic drop-back quarterback, he also has above average athleticism for someone of his stature according to his high school coach.

“Travis is an amazing athlete who combines height, coordination, speed and agility with a 6-6 frame and the ability to pass accurately or for distance,” Patton said. “Travis has great character and he’s a top-ranked student. He will be a credit to Utah’s program and to the university.”

Because of his prowess in the classroom, Wilson plans to graduate from high school early in order to enroll at Utah in time for spring semester, allowing him to participate in spring practices.

“I want to compete immediately for a starting spot, and I believe I’ll be able to do that at Utah,” he said. “That was a big thing for me. Anyone wants to play as early as possible, and I think I’ll definitely have a chance to do that when I get there next January. I'm very excited to have the opportunities that I'll have at such a great program as Utah.”

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