SALT LAKE CITY — BYU believed it had a good one in quarterback Zach Wilson, who took over as starter halfway through his true freshman season in 2018 to lead the Cougars offense.
His perfect 18-for-18, 317 yards and four touchdowns stat line from BYU’s 49-18 win over Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl backs up that belief.
Advanced analytics back up that belief, too.
On Thursday, Pro Football Focus shared a graphic on Twitter that showed Wilson earned the third-highest grade among true freshman FBS quarterbacks last season, with a minimum of 150 dropbacks.
Wilson had an 83.3 grade, which trails only Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (90.7) and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy (88.4).
Lawrence earned numerous freshman All-America honors and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year, throwing for 30 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading the undefeated Tigers to the national championship.
Purdy took over as starter in Iowa State’s fifth game of the year and led the Cyclones to a 7-2 record after that, while also being named Big 12 True Freshman of the Year by ESPN.
Wilson started seven games for BYU, leading them to a 4-3 record. He completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 1,578 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions, with a QB efficiency of 157.23. Wilson is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and is expected to miss all of spring ball, though he’s the expected starter for 2019.
Former BYU wide receiver Dylan Collie, who played as a grad transfer for the Cougars in 2018, shared his congratulations for Wilson on social media.
10 Utah ties headed to NFL combine
When the 2019 NFL combine takes place Feb. 26 to March 4 in Indianapolis, there will be 10 players with Utah ties headed to Indiana.
The combine released its list of 338 participants for this year’s event on Thursday, and it includes six former Utes, as well as a former Cougar, a former Aggie and a former Wildcat. A Utah prep star who played at USC also made the invite list.
Here’s a look at each of the Utah ties invited to this year’s combine:
Cody Barton, LB, Utah and Brighton High
Jackson Barton, OT, Utah and Brighton High
Marquise Blair, S, Utah
Matt Gay, K, Utah and Orem High
Porter Gustin, LB, USC and Salem Hills High
Chase Hansen, LB, Utah and Lone Peak High
Iosua Opeta, OL, Weber State and Stansbury High
Dax Raymond, TE, Utah State and Timpview High
Sione Takitaki, LB, BYU
Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah
One funny note: currently the NFL combine website lists Takitaki's name as Taki Takitaki.
By whatever name, though, the state will be well-represented during the linebacker portion of the combine. Four of the Utah ties are linebackers, who will perform on-field drills on March 3.
And finally …51 comments on this story
Southern Utah earned a sweep of Weber State in men’s basketball this season, finishing the sweep with a 65-53 victory over the Wildcats on Thursday night.
The T-Birds athletics Twitter account wasted little time trolling Weber State.
And finally II …
Much had been made this week of reports of the Los Angeles Lakers trying to trade for New Orleans star big man Anthony Davis. Yahoo! Sports hilariously pinned the blame on LeBron James in a Lion King parody that shows the reaction from his Lakers teammates who were reportedly on the trade block.