"It was just very sad for us," said senior offensive lineman Junior Salt. "It took a very big toll on our team to lose someone as talented and as gifted at Travis."
"With the whole injury and the doctor's first examination of it, he thought I wasn't going to be able to play football again," Wilson said. "So, this is definitely truly a blessing that I get to play football again."
After being cleared for full contact before training camp opened, doctors now say Wilson is at no further risk than he was before. This second chance has rejuvenated Wilson's passion for the game.
"Going through the ups and downs of it all," Wilson said. "Then when I was finally cleared to play again, it just really made me realize how lucky I was to be able to play football again."
"The football is a bonus and a sidebar to the whole thing," said head coach Kyle Whittingham. "Him being healthy and the doctors clearing him no more at risk than anybody on the team was a big positive. Travis has found out a lot about himself and how much he loves the games."
After winning a quarterback battle with Kendal Thompson during training camp, Wilson has reasserted himself as the leader of the offense. And when he runs out through the tunnel Thursday night against Idaho State, healthy again, it will be a moment Wilson will truly appreciate.
"It's going to be amazing," Wilson said. "I'm definitely going to be really excited. I know this whole team is excited to finally play and stop hitting each other. It's going to be a great night and I'm really looking forward to it."
Utah and Idaho State kick off the 2014 season at 5:30 Thursday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.