BYU quarterback Zach Wilson put on a show Monday night in the Boca Raton Bowl, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for two more in the first half alone as part of a 49-23 thrashing of Central Florida.
Wilson finished the game 26 of 34 for 425 yards, was named offensive MVP and may have provided Jets fans with a glimmer of hope after their team likely blew their chance to select Clemson stud quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Jets, following Sunday’s upset of the Rams, are slated to pick second, but they may still eye a quarterback even if the Jaguars choose Lawrence with the top selection.
Wilson and Ohio State star Justin Fields are considered the top quarterback prospects behind Lawrence.
The Jets will have to decide whether either is worth moving on from Sam Darnold, who has been inconsistent and hampered by injuries since being selected with the third pick in the 2018 draft.
A baby-faced 21-year-old junior from Utah, Wilson entered the year relatively unknown, but shot up the draft board after throwing 30 touchdown passes — seven more than he threw in his first two seasons — with just three interceptions during BYU’s 10-1 regular season.
His rise may have mirrored that of Joe Burrow, whom the Bengals selected with the first pick last spring, but Wilson also has drawn comparisons to another big-name quarterback.
“I’m not going to say he’s Patrick Mahomes, but what I’m saying, he plays like Patrick Mahomes,” Steve Young, the Hall of Famer and BYU alum, told KNBR radio last month. “Like, there’s no throw he can’t make. He’s just intuitive and really present when he’s playing. Every week, you’re like, wow, this is something good.”
Not only has Wilson’s ability to improvise on the fly been compared to that of Mahomes, the reigning MVP, but also the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is mobile, a skill NFL teams today value more than ever.
Wilson rushed for eight touchdowns and 242 yards during the regular season.
While he hasn’t officially declared for the draft, it would come as a surprise if Wilson stayed in school.