Utah's bid to end its two-season bowl drought received a major boost Tuesday, when junior quarterback Travis Wilson received his medical clearance to return to the football field.
Wilson's 2013 season ended after a November concussion revealed a then-undisclosed pre-existing head injury, one Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said could be "career-ending." But Wilson was later cleared to participate in non-contact spring drills, and Utah announced Tuesday that the injury -- revealed to be an injury to one of Wilson's intracranial arteries -- was shown by multiple CT scans to have stabilized.
"I'm happy I've been cleared to play again," said Wilson. "My condition is stable and the neurosurgeon predicted it will remain stable in the future ... I feel totally comfortable about returning to football and full contact. I believe I've been playing with this condition for awhile and never even knew about it. I'm going to keep playing just the way I've always played."
"Obviously, it's great news that Travis has been medically cleared to play football again," Whittingham said. "Travis' health was our No. 1 concern and we're relieved for him and his family that he is OK."
The Utes' quarterbacking depth chart suddenly becomes a very crowded place, with Wilson now battling five other scholarship quarterbacks to retain the starting job first won as a true freshman in 2012. Wilson went on to start nine games in 2013, averaging 7.7 yards a passing attempt and rushing for 386 yards and five touchdowns while leading the Utes to a 4-2 start. But he also finished the season with a 16-to-16 touchdown-to-interception ratio as his team slumped to a 5-7 finish, going 1-2 following Wilson's concussion.
Though Wilson will be expected to start for the Utes again, he will have to fend off a challenge from former Oklahoma quarterback Kendal Thompson, who transferred during the spring.