The MVP trophy from the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl that resides on Jordan Wynn’s nightstand is both a symbol of a great memory and hopes unfulfilled.
Wynn, who talked about his decision to retire from football during a press conference Tuesday at the University of Utah, said that game in which he led the Utes to a win over Cal will remain as one of the best moments of his career.
Unfortunately for him, his career ended too early and with too few memorable moments.
Wynn said during the preseason that one of his biggest goals was to make it through an entire season without injury. Instead, he didn’t even last a game and a half — he was knocked out of Utah’s loss to Utah State just before halftime when he took a hit to his left shoulder.
Having suffered two previous injuries to the shoulder and another to his right one, Wynn knew it was bad. By Monday, he knew after discussing his injuries with Utah’s training staff, coaches and father, the best thing to do was to walk away from football.
“Football is the game I love and it’s not an easy decision to make,” he said. “But it’s time. It’s tough to keep my body going through this. I made the decision with advice from a lot of people. Hopefully it’s the right one.”
Wynn is still discussing medical options, but believes he’ll need to have a fourth surgery.
“We’re still planning it out, but I know the feeling,” he said. “We will see what happens, but the bottom line is I’d like to be healthy.”
Wynn was beginning his fourth season with the Utes, but was just a junior in eligibility because he was granted an extra year from the NCAA due to all his injuries.
He finished his career with a 14-7 record and played in just 22 games total.
He leaves ranked eighth in career passing yards at Utah (4,637) and with a 60 percent completion rate (381 of 632).
His crowning achievement was his freshman year, when he replaced Terrance Cain as the starter and had the best season ever by a true freshman quarterback at Utah, completing 104 of 179 passes for 1,329 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I’m walking away with no regrets and with my head held up,” he said. “I went out and tried as best as I could and worked hard and in the end it was not meant to be. For whatever reason, the shoulder couldn’t hold up.”
Wynn was 25 for 38 for 247 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception this season.
His focus now, he said, will be to get quarterbacks Travis Wilson and Jon Hays ready to play against BYU.
The Utes haven’t named a starter and Wynn said both quarterbacks could handle the role.
“The main thing for them is to try and stay poised,” he said. “Jon was there last year so he has a taste of the environment. It’s Travis’ first time, but both of them can do it. The big thing is handling the emotions in the game and not getting too riled up. I’ll be on the sidelines making sure they stay calm and not get too wound up.”
Hays has the edge based on his experience, but Wynn said he has seen his backup improve in the last year.
“He is throwing the football better and mentally is handling the offense,” Wynn said. “I have confidence in both of those guys. Either of them could get the job done especially with Jon. He is experienced and went through the grinder last year and came out of it .”
As for his own future, Wynn said he hasn’t thought much past the season.
“It was tough just watching practice yesterday,” he said. “But I need to put those feelings away and help as best as I can and get these guys ready.”