Indispensable player: Utah

July, 20, 2011
7/20/11
4:00
PM ET
See your team in your mind's eye -- 24 starters, including specialists.

If you could put an absolute halo of safety -- perhaps a girdle of indestructibility -- around just one, who would it be?

We're rating each team's most indispensable player. And when the choice is too obvious -- say, Stanford -- we'll try to offer a second choice.

Up next: Utah

QB Jordan Wynn

(We skipped Utah's place in alphabetical order because we wanted to check in with Wynn on the status of his surgically repaired shoulder, which he said Tuesday should be 100 percent by fall camp).

Wynn, a true junior and two-year starter, has been a good quarterback for Utah. Few Utes fans will forget his winning the Poinsettia Bowl MVP honors as a true freshman, when he completed 26 of 36 passes for a season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns in a win over California (that's probably also the biggest memory for Pac-12 fans of Wynn). And Wynn mostly played well last season, despite thumb and shoulder injuries, completing 62 percent of his throws with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 233.4 yards passing per game would have ranked third in the Pac-10, just ahead of USC quarterback Matt Barkley, and those numbers were compiled while fronting a run-first offense. Further, one would expect Wynn to improve under the tutelage of quarterback guru Norm Chow. So Wynn is important to Utah because he is a proven, experienced quarterback with upside. But Wynn's indispensability isn't just about the player himself. It's about the absence of a plan B should he go down. Tyler Shreve figures to be Wynn's understudy this fall, and he has talent. But he's a grayshirt freshman that often looked overwhelmed this past spring. His competition for the backup job was Griff Robles, and Robles' move to linebacker after spring practices pretty much tells you where that ended up. Further, the transfer of 6-foot Jon Hays from Nebraska-Omaha probably won't inspire much confidence. In other words, without Wynn, things would look bleak offensively, at least in terms of a reliable passing game. So expect Wynn to be under instructions to protect his shoulder and not take too many chances scrambling. And, yes, quarterbacks is a recruiting priority, with 6-foot-7 Travis Wilson and Chase Hansen already committed.

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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
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Thursday, 1/1
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Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
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