Utah football: Quarterback Jordan Wynn highlights 'the gun show' as Ute camp opens
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Wynn stole the show — the gun show — at Utah's first spring practice.
The junior, who is healthy again after enduring two shoulder surgeries in a 10-month span, sported a new look for the Utes Tuesday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"He's actually got some arms now," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "Instead of No. 2 pencils hanging from his shoulders, he's got some arms to him. He looks good."
Bigger biceps are part of a physical overhaul that has upped Wynn's 6-foot-2 frame to 208 pounds.
Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said the coaching staff challenged Wynn to change his body and that's what he did.
"He's worked hard and he's eating right. It's all about nutrition and making sure that you're fueling your body properly," Johnson said. "He took pride in it. He wants to beef up and stay healthy and that was the way he had to get it done."
Wynn acknowledged he's been working hard. At the same time, however, he's cherishing being back on the field and vows not to take anything for granted.
"For the first time in almost two years I feel good," Wynn said. "It's a blessing and I'm excited to be out here."
The veteran has returned to the top of the depth chart. He's 13-6 as Utah's starter with 4,390 career passing yards and 31 touchdowns.
"He's a great kid. He does everything right, everything we ask him to do he's always done," Johnson said while noting that Wynn embodies what college athletics is all about. "He's exactly the type of person that you want to lead your football team."
Wynn, though, will be pushed by promising true freshmen Chase Hansen and Travis Wilson. The newcomers also had solid showings in the inaugural spring practice.
"Every day you've got to compete. Coach Johnson is preaching that to us and I relish it," Wynn said. "It's going to make all of us better and so I welcome it."
Whittingham noted that the Utes have really helped themselves at the position with the addition of Hansen and Wilson, who both enrolled in school early to participate in spring ball. Whittingham said that quarterback play was a strong suit in the opening session of camp.
"Getting Jordan back and healthy is the most important thing that has happened in the offseason. But I'm very impressed with how Travis and Chase have both picked things up and made very few mistakes today," Whittignham explained. "They went through their read progressions. It wasn't perfect, but for a first day for a couple of true freshmen it was very impressive."
Senior receiver DeVonte Christopher also liked what he saw.
"I was really impressed with both of them actually," Christopher said while noting that they made some impressive throws in their collegiate debuts.
Wilson thought things went well overall.
"I was a little nervous at the beginning," he said. "But I got through it and I started doing well towards the end."
The former California prep star is determined to grasp on to everything he's being taught.
Hansen is also eager to learn the offense. The Lone Peak standout is having a good time along the way, even if the situation is quite competitive.
"That's what football is about — competing. It's awesome to be able to learn stuff from these guys," Hansen said. "We'll see what happens. It's just fun to be out here playing football again."
And the environment, Johnson explained, is intended to be challenging.
"The bottom line is I want our guys to compete at all times," he said. "Not just in football. I want them to compete in every facet of life."
Although the quarterback competition headlined things, it didn't overshadow everything. Whittingham called the practice "a good start" overall. He noted that brothers Dave and Joe Kruger are "bigger and better versions of themselves" and that fellow defensive linemen Star Lotulelei and Nate Fakahafua also looked good. He added that no one could block Lotulelei and hopes that's the case in the Pac-12 this fall.
The focus in spring ball, Whittingham said, is to stress fundamentals and techniques. Making every player better, he continued, will lead to improvement collectively.
The Utes resume spring ball Thursday at the stadium from 3-5 p.m. The practice is open to the public.
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