Zach Wilson and other Cougars declare for 2021 NFL Draft

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Zach Wilson and other Cougars declare for 2021 NFL Draft

Several of the top players from this year’s nationally-ranked BYU football team announced plans this week to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, including quarterback Zach Wilson, wide receiver Dax Milne, offensive lineman Brady Christensen and defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga.

“After much thought, prayer and consideration, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft,” Wilson said in his announcement on Twitter on Friday. “I pray that I will always make Cougar Nation proud.”

Wilson thanked his coaches at BYU one-by-one in his announcement, expressing gratitude for the opportunities he was given and the lessons he learned while in Provo. He became the starter midway through his freshman season in 2018 and led the Cougars to a 19-9 record in the games he started over his three-year career.

Wilson set the single-season record for pass completion percentage at BYU this season and also holds the record for career pass completion percentage. He is projected to be a Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft in May.

“Thank you for the best three years of my life,” Wilson said. “BYU is a special place. I’m forever blue.”

The decision to go pro became more likely for Wilson when his top receiver, Milne, announced his plans to go to the NFL on Thursday. The two came to BYU at the same time, though Milne started as a walk-on player, and found themselves thrust into the spotlight early as freshmen in 2018.

Milne became Wilson’s go-to receiver in 2020 and his 1,188 receiving yards were the fifth-most in a single season in BYU history. He scored eight touchdowns and went for over 100 receiving yards in six of his 12 games.

“My journey of reaching for the stars continues as I am declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft,” Milne said on Twitter. “I will forever rep the Y and give it everything I have to make Cougar Nation proud.”

The final Cougar underclassman to declare for the draft this week was Christensen. He was consistently ranked as one of the top offensive linemen in the nation, giving Wilson time to operate the offense and create opportunities in the run game.

“I am ready to fulfill my dream of playing in the NFL,” Christensen said in his announcement. “No matter where this journey takes me, I will always be a BYU Cougar.”

Tonga was the most recent BYU senior to announce his intentions to go to the NFL and not take advantage of the free year of eligibility the NCAA granted all athletes due to COVID-19. He is joined by fellow defensive players Troy Warner and Chris Wilcox as the seniors currently pursuing an NFL career.

Other seniors who will have to decide whether to return to BYU or try for the NFL include Matt Bushman, Zayne Anderson, Tristen Hoge and Isaiah Kaufusi.

“The last four years of my life at BYU have been a blessing,” Tonga said. “I am really excited to begin the next chapter of my life as I begin preparing for the NFL Draft.”

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