Utah Utes football: QB Jordan Wynn bulks up, ready to show he can lead Utes
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The tattoo on Jordan Wynn's left bicep was designed as a tribute to his late grandmother.
That it stands out now shows how far the Utah quarterback has come since undergoing a second season-ending shoulder surgery in 10 months.
"We'd tease him (because) it used to wrap all the way back to the back," Utes wide receiver DeVonte Christopher said of Wynn's atrophied arms. "Now it's center-face; so he's good."
In the quarterback-driven Pac-12 Conference, the Utes will need Wynn to be good to compete again for the South Division title.
Not only is the 6-foot-2 junior healthy, he's bulked up to 208 pounds, has a cleaner throwing motion, is throwing downfield with more zip on the ball and has a couple of talented freshmen pushing him.
Wynn has competed in spring football practices without any restrictions — unlike a year ago when he was coming off surgery on his right (throwing) arm. In a second spring scrimmage, he was 7 of 12 for 149 yards and a touchdown, including completions of 43, 42 and 28 yards.
Next up is Saturday's annual Red-White spring game.
"I'm actually able to lift on both my arms," Wynn said after a recent practice. "This is the first time in a while."
Wynn actually has had three shoulder operations: on his left after the 2010 spring game, on his right in December 2010, which kept him out of the Las Vegas Bowl; and on his left again in October, ending his season.
"Body-wise I feel so much more balanced," Wynn said. "Going from left surgery to right surgery to left surgery, you lift on one side each time and become very uneven in terms of balance. I feel good, I'm balanced and I'm heavier. I can hang in the pocket and make a throw now."
He already had a solid record, going 13-6 as Utah's starter, with 4,390 career yards passing and 31 touchdowns. Having zip on the ball and the experience has bumped him to the top of Utah's depth chart. That's the case even though the Utes signed two talented freshmen in 6-6 Travis Wilson and 6-3 Chase Hansen, and return Jon Hays, who filled in admirably last season and rallied the Utes to a Sun Bowl victory.
"I'm very proud of him, where he's at and the way he's leading the team," head coach Kyle Whittingham said of Wynn. "The added weight is to make him a more durable player. He's had a history of injuries, but we're hoping that's behind him."
Wilson and Hansen are listed as Wynn's backups.
"Jordan is our starter," said Brian Johnson, Utah's 2008 Sugar Bowl quarterback, who took over as offensive coordinator after Norm Chow bolted for Hawaii. "It doesn't mean that people can't compete with him."
It's helped that both freshman graduated high school early and are able to participle in spring drills.
Hansen already was familiar with Utah, growing up in Highland and having led Lone Peak High School to state championships in both football and basketball. He has attended youth camps for years, allowing Utah's staff to build a relationship with him.
"He's a winner, he's a grinder," Johnson said of Hansen, also more of a runner than Wilson.
Wilson has the prototypical size, and he performed well last weekend, completing 6 of 8 passes for 56 yards and rushing for two touchdowns.
"Travis Wilson has been an absolute great person to have in camp," Johnson said. "He's made so many strides. He's a guy that is going to be a special player for us."
A year ago, the Utes may have been the thinnest in the league at the quarterback position. Now they have depth.
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