Zach Wilson is already getting national buzz for his stellar play through the first two games of the season. Wilson was included on “The Too-Early Heisman Watch” on Sports Illustrated, along with Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Sam Ehlinger of Texas. Sports Illustrated writer and host of the Yahoo Sports College Podcast, Pat Forde talked with Ben Criddle about why he is so high on Wilson and what he expects from this BYU team.
Forde admitted that he was skeptical of Wilson going into the season but is sold on the quarterback’s talent after watching him against Navy and Troy.
“I’ve been super impressed with him, really he’s played really well,” said Forde. “He’s shown flashes, going back to the 18-for-18 bowl game and he had some other very good games along the way. I wasn’t 100% that this guy was an elite quarterback. I watched him in the Navy game and then against Troy and I think he looks great.”
— Hunter Miller (@MillerHHunter) September 29, 2020
Wilson has been unstoppable so far in 2020, boasting a 78.3 completion percentage and averaging 13.6 yards per pass attempt. He has six total touchdowns — four through the air and two on the ground. According to Forde’s story for Sports Illustrated, Wilson is the only quarterback in the country averaging more yards per play than Clemson’s Lawrence — who is already the clear favorite to be picked first overall in next year’s NFL draft.
“He’s shown the ability to do everything you want a guy to do,” Forde said of Wilson. “He’s thrown with incredible accuracy. He’s got arm talent, he can see the field, he can maneuver with his feet well enough to buy himself some extra time. This has become a big-play BYU offense… that’s going to make them a lot of fun to watch this season.”
Forde said he ranked BYU No. 10 in his personal rankings on Saturday night, significantly higher than the Cougars’ AP poll ranking at No. 22. He said he is skeptical if BYU’s ranking can hold, given the weak slate of opponents the Cougars face this season.
Forde-Yard Dash, Third Quarter: A (very) early look at Heisman Trophy candidates who are stepping forward. Seven QBs, three RBs, a wideout, a defensive guy … and even the one position that hasn't had a Top 10 Heisman finish this century, a tight end https://t.co/OiJFtIvD6T
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) September 28, 2020
“We will see if these victories continue to hold merit,” said Forde. “Troy won its only other game and Navy won its only other game, so those dominant victories look a little more legitimate. Louisiana Tech is pretty good, so we will get a better taste there. The schedule will probably not allow the ranking to hold up in the long haul.”
Like many BYU fans, Forde said he wishes we could see this iteration of BYU be tested against stiffer competition. BYU has outscored opponents 103-10 this season and it seems unlikely that they will go into any of their remaining games as anything but heavy favorites.
As Forde said, it’s far too early to tell if Wilson will be in serious contention for the Heisman Trophy at the end of the season. The strength of schedule doesn’t do the junior quarterback any favors, so Wilson will likely need to maintain his extraordinary efficiency through the end of the season and lead the Cougars to an undefeated record in order to make a splash as a Heisman finalist.
🚨Interview with @ByPatForde of Sports Illustrated!
Discussing Lavell Edwards & why he has Zach Wilson as a Too-Early Heisman Candidate!
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) September 30, 2020
Written by Bridger Beal-Cvetko
Bridger is a student at Utah Valley University where he studies journalism and mass communication. He is the sports editor of the on-campus newspaper, The Review. Bridger is a life-long Cougar fan and college football enthusiast.