No one would expect much from a quarterback who is playing in a completely new scheme after 3 years in his original one, behind a weak offensive line, with a starting running back averaging 3.4 yards per carry, and after his top three receivers were all drafted the year before. This doubt would be compounded if one were to watch the vicious hits and head injuries this quarterback had endured.
No one would expect for that quarterback to have a statline of 14 touchdowns, 2000 yards, and a completion percentage of 60% through six games.
Of course, no one expected Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson to do as well as he did last year, throwing for 3600 yards and 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions.
After watching Arkansas and Wilson played this year, I am just amazed by this kid’s grit. In fact, I feel bad for describing him as a kid. This is a 23 year old man who has had to grow up on the football field faster than his peers.
Some chose to write off Wilson’s year last year (much like they are doing to Matt Barkley this year) because of his team’s wealth of offensive playmakers. Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, and Greg Childs were all drafted in the 2012 NFL draft.
Wilson has taken a lot of hits and paid the price for his aggressiveness on the field. He already has missed one game due to a concussion this season and teams will be concerned about the multiple concussions he has sustained in his only two years as a starter.
Wilson isn’t the biggest kid and doesn’t have the strongest arm but he makes up for it with intelligence, excellent pocket movement, and a willingness to take the big hit in order to get the ball out right on time. He is a little bit like Brett Favre in how he plays the game like it may be his last day out there.
His accuracy is excellent and he throws tight spirals with good location and timing. The deep ball is an area of concern. While Wilson has good spin and can zip in medium-range passes with ease, he has struggled with throwing off his back foot and floating the deep ball inaccurately. This is a common issue for young quarterbacks (as I pointed out with Matt Barkley as well), and is very fixable.
When you watch Wilson play you flashback to old-school quarterbacks like Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton: hard-nosed QB’s who play the position with a toughness that matches their intelligence. I don’t see Wilson fitting in with the prissier modern QB image like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, whining to referees after every imperfect play and mouthing off to offensive lineman. Their talent is obviously unmatched, but I’d prefer to go to battle on the field for a guy like Tyler Wilson any day.