Watch CBS News

Meet Zach Wilson, The Jets New Quarterback

(CBSNewYork)- The New York Jets selected Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft Thursday night marking the second time in the last four years the organization has selected a quarterback in the Top 5. He's the first BYU quarterback since John Beck in 2007 to be drafted into the league. As Wilson prepares to come to New York, here are five things fans should know.

Comes From A Big Family

Wilson is one of six siblings but that's just the start of it. His grandparents, Gary and Rose Neeleman, have seven children, 36 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. That family life was one of the big factors in Wilson's decision to go to BYU. A Utah native, he first committed to play at Boise State before deciding to stay closer to home and play for Kelani Sitake and BYU. According to the Deseret News, he told his grandfather at a holiday party that the family was the reason. "Grandpa, you know why I went to BYU? This is why."

His Uncle Founded JetBlue 

One of Wilson's uncles, David G. Neeleman founded JetBlue Airways in 1999 and served as CEO of the airline through 2007. JetBlue is one of five commercial airlines Neeleman founded during the course of his career, the others being Morris Air, WestJet, Azul Brazilian Arilines and Breeze Airways.

Has Hawaiian Ancestry

Wilson's middle name, "Kapono" means righteous and is a nod to his Hawaiian descent.

He Can Juggle

According to the Deseret News' profile of Wilson this month, Wilson became obsessed with learning how to juggle. His brother told the outlet that he mastered it quickly.

"He taught himself how to juggle, and he mastered it," his brother said. "He's an amazing juggler. He worked until he got it."

The reason for his learning to juggle? Wilson read that it helps improve hand-eye coordination and therefore might help him collect an errant snap a little easier.

He's Already Spoken To 3 Jets QBs 

NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported in the lead up to the draft that Wilson reached out to former Jets QBs Josh McCown, Mark Sanchez and Chad Pennington about what it's like to play in NYC.

"When he was in college, he was preparing to be an NFL quarterback, and now as it looks like he's going to the Jets, he's been preparing to be a Jets quarterback, and to that end, Beck told me today that he has gotten on the phone with Chad Pennington, Josh McCown, and Mark Sanchez to talk about what it means to play for that organization in that environment," Kinkhabwala reported.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.