Pac-12 media day: Utah needs Herculean effort from its quarterback

Travis Wilson, a threat as a passer and runner, is Utah's big question mark at quarterback

Utah brought two players to Pac-12 media day. Neither is the linchpin for the Utes.

Receiver Dres Anderson has dangerous speed. Nathan Orchard showed he might be another in a line of nasty defensive lineman in Salt Lake City.

But quarterback Travis Wilson remains the question. He was cleared to play in June after a concussion in the ninth game put his career in jeopardy.

Utah officials left him at home this week, though Anderson said Wilson's likeness was present at Paramount Pictures on Wednesday.

“Over where we ate, they have a statue of Hercules,” Anderson said. “It looked like Travis. He was been working out, putting on muscle. He’s a beast.”

That has never been the issue with Wilson. It has been his daredevil approach to quarterback that has gotten the 6-foot-7 junior in trouble.

Wilson threw for 1,827 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He also gained 386 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns. But the battering took its toll.

“They told us he had a concussion and that was bad, then they said he might not play football again and I went, 'Oh my gosh,’ ” Anderson said. “I can’t imagine what he and his family went through. We’re just happy to have him back.”

The Utes don’t lack numbers at quarterback. Kendal Thompson is a transfer from Oklahoma. Conner Manning broke Matt Barkley’s Orange County single-season passing record.

“We have depth and talent,” said Anderson, who had 53 receptions for 1,002 yards and caught seven touchdowns last season.

But there is a difference.

“I don’t know what Kendal Thompson is going to do when he faces a pass rush,” Anderson said. “I know how Travis will play it.”

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