The North Coast Heat look to have rounded out their quarterback core picking up Pac-12 quarterback Travis Wilson from NCAA Division 1 college the Utah Utes.
If Utah Utes sounds familiar to you, that is because one of Wilson’s teammates was well-known Australian, and now New York Jets punter, Tom Hackett.
Let the battle begin
Having already signed Dante Nania from Slippery Rock, and NGL National Combine attendee Vincent Scheffer, the addition of Wilson creates genuine competition for the starting quarterback spot this season.
Wilson, fresh from a recent tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals comes to the NGL off a college career that saw him break a host of records at Utah.
Wilson left the Utes as the record-holder for total starts (39), games played (46) and total touchdowns (75). His list of achievements in a strong Pac-12 conference makes for impressive viewing.
Set the school quarterback record for starts (39) and games played (46) … 24 career wins (24-15) ranks second in school history … set the school record for total touchdowns with 75 (54 passing, 21 rushing) … ranks second in Utah’s career record book in pass attempts (1,068) and third in pass completions (646), touchdown passes (54) and total offense yards (8,627) … 7,403 career passing yards ranks fourth all-time at Utah, 60.5% career completion percentage is sixth, 21 career rushing TDs is tied for sixth-most and 11.46 yards per completion ranks seventh … 16 career 200-yard passing games (tied for fourth in school history) included three 300-yard games … two career 100-yard rushing games … just the third four-year starting quarterback at Utah … in 2012, he became the fourth Ute true freshman starter at quarterback since the NCAA restored freshman eligibility back in 1972 … two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week … three-time honorable mention Academic All-Pac-12 Conference.
The Pac-12 conference Utah play in have won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference in the history of American college football.
Wilson led Utah to a 9-4 record and the team’s first bowl appearance since 2011. He completed 60.7% of his attempts for 2,170 yards and 18 touchdowns vs. five interceptions, also scoring five times on the ground that year.
In his final year, Utah went 10–3 through the regular season (6–3 against Pac-12 competetion), their best record since 2010.
From there Wilson struggled with injury after suffering a concussion vs. Arizona State that revealed a pre-existing brain artery condition that threatened to end his football career completely.
At 6’7” and 230lbs (104kg), Wilson’s size poses a dual threat for defenses, having the height to see and throw over the line, while showing the willingness to use his size and respectable speed as a run threat.
The subject of scouting reports leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, Wilson’s size and mobility stood out when projected as a possible late round draft pick.
A tall, lanky quarterback that has great presence in the pocket … shows glimpses of an arm that can be coached and improved. An athletic quarterback that can throw on the run or tuck the ball and pick up a first down – Fleaflicker Times
Wilson is 6-foot-7 and was often injured, but has a very similar game to Ryan Tannehill and could be a longterm project for Gase. – scout.com
While listed as a quarterback this season, talk of Wilson offering something outside of the quarterback position has been floating around for quite some time. At Wilson’s height and weight, Wilson seems suited to a shift to a tight-end position.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the idea late in the season when asked of a positional switch by ESPN.
He won a lot of games for us. But that’s a good question, where he fits in at the next level? There are probably a couple of places that would be possibilities outside of quarterback. He’s got the big frame. He’s got great hands. He can catch very well. That’s interesting if someone can put 10-20 pounds on his frame and make him a tight end.
Already in a Hall of Fame
Finding his way to Utah after playing his high school ball at San Clemente High School, Wilson was recently inducted into the Triton’s Hall of Fame.
It’s truly a blessing. … There are a ton of guys before me that led the way, and I’m really happy with everything I’ve done in my career and at San Clemente, I’m proud to call San Clemente my home and be a part of this hall of fame and be a part of this community.
While concerns around Wilson’s durability may have hurt his draft prospects in the end, there is no doubt he is bringing big time quality to Australian shores and the National Gridiron League this season.