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Should BYU QB Zach Wilson Give Up His Senior Year To Enter The NFL Draft?

BYU QB Zach Wilson lines up under center in a game against the Houston Cougars. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is having an amazing season and is getting early season buzz as a Heisman candidate. The Cougars are 5-0 and just outside the top 10 of both major polls.

Wilson has had a massive transformation this offseason despite not being able to have traditional spring football or summer workouts. He is finally healthy and spent many weekends in California with former BYU quarterback John Beck to work on his game and it paid off in spaids.

So far this year, Wilson has 12 passing touchdowns, one interception, he is averaging 12.1 yards per attempt, and completing 78 percent of his passes; plus he is showing off his athleticism with six rushing touchdowns. This is the quarterback BYU has always wanted Wilson to be and in his junior year, he is doing things as good as any other BYU quarterback in school history.

He is being compared to likely No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson during the marquee matchup of the night this past weekend. Wilson’s status as an elite quarterback is off the charts this year and maybe never be higher in 2021.

With the Cougars schedule not nearly as tough as it was before the pandemic he has shined against the lower-level competition, some will hold that against him but North Dakota State’s Trey Lance who plays at the FCS level and against lesser competition and is considered a first-round draft pick. The level of competition isn’t the top priority when evaluating a quarterback.

Scouts look at a lot of things and while it does benefit Wilson to be on a good team while putting up good numbers even against non-Power 5 competition, those evaluators look at the big picture and level of competition is just part of the puzzle pieces they put together when judging talent level.

Should Wilson Go Pro Early?

Wilson may want to consider going pro early, according to KSL Unrivaled. He has never been higher on scouts radar and there is the risk of coming back for his senior in which he plays poorly or struggles against a schedule that features seven Power 5 opponents, Boise State, and rival Utah State. Playing against that type of competition very well could ding his golden statues of 2020, especially if the Cougars record and Wilson’s stats are nowhere near the same.

KSL Sports’ host Scott Mitchell left early for the NFL Draft when he was at Utah and ended up being a third-round pick to the Miami Dolphins, and gives Wilson some guidance on how to handle his success this year and whether to stay or go.

“It comes to, what does he want? Look at Peyton Manning, he wanted the college experience. He wanted to be at Tennessee to finish it out and win the Heisman Trophy,” Mitchell said. “Zach Wilson, if he continues to play as well as he has he will be in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy for the rest of the year and he is already there.”

“The benefit of staying is to win that prestigious award. The Heisman Trophy is extremely special and it is for just one player in college football and you are the best player. It is not just that year but it is every year for the rest of your life, no matter what happens to you.”

Winning the Heisman Trophy is a really good reason to stick around and use 2020 as a springboard to start as a favorite heading into 2021. However, there are some instances in which a player’s draft stock falls after having a great year that is followed up by a disappointing season.

“Next year, I don’t think he can top this year. The reason I saw that is that he will be playing a lot of tougher competition,” Mitchell said. “The iron is really hot for Zach Wilson right now and I would anticipate it will continue to be hot for the rest of the season. I would strike while the iron is hot, and I don’t think it will get as hot next year by playing all of those Power 5 teams with a difficult schedule. I say if it is there go.”

Theoretically, if Wilson has the same stats and record against a schedule that will be considerably harder puts him in a position to be the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. That would be a big gamble for Wilson to bet on himself, and his teammates, to replicate the success of 2020 into 2021.

Tune into KSL Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.

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