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'Gotta earn my stripes now;' Wilson visits Jets coaches, media

Zach Wilson with Jets.jpg
Posted at 3:58 PM, Apr 30, 2021

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A day after being selected by the New York Jets with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft, former BYU star Zach Wilson visited with his new coaches and teammates Friday.

READ: Zach Wilson's unlikely rise and uncertain future

Wilson traveled to the Jets training facility in New Jersey for his first official day as a professional football player; and 24 hours later, he said it still feels surreal.

"My girlfriend actually said to me last night, 'I feel like we're going to wake up and all of this is going to be a dream,' and it's so cool to be in this position, and all I can really take away from it is just gratitude," said Wilson during a short interview session with the media.

Artist creates mural of former BYU star Zach Wilson

Wilson claims he didn't mind being picked by the perennial cellar-dweller Jets, a team that last made the playoffs when the franchise's newest star was just 11-years-old.

"Everything for me was about situation." Wilson said. "It's landing with the right team, the right owners, organization, the right players, and I feel this is exactly what I needed."

While he was front-and-center for the Cougars last season, Wilson knows he's starting from the bottom in the NFL, and that starting jobs are earned, not given.

"I just gotta earn my stripes now. That draft spot is really just an opportunity to come here and work as hard as I can," said Wilson. "Just be one of the dudes, make connections with these guys and give everything I have every day."

Wilson says he'll approach his rookie year the same way he did when he returned from a shoulder injury at BYU.

"All this is is an opportunity for me to come to an amazing organization and taking the same approach that I did when no one believed in me back at BYU at a time after my sophomore year. It's really that 'prove them wrong' mentality, of just being able to have that chip on your shoulder and making sure every day you're working."

It's no secret that playing under the bright lights of the Big Apple can be tough for seasoned veterans, let alone 21-year-old rookies out of Draper. But Wilson says he knows what he's getting into, and he's eager to get going.

"I signed up for this, man! Since I was 7-years-old, I signed up to play quarterback and that's what comes with the job and it's exciting, it's what makes it fun."