From the moment he was drafted, he began hearing — and began dreaming — about Wilson to Wilson.
Zach Wilson to Garrett Wilson.
And now it is here.
“I’m excited for it to come to life, man,” receiver Garrett Wilson told The Post on the day that head coach Robert Saleh announced that quarterback Zach Wilson’s knee is 100 percent and he has been cleared to return for his 2022 debut Sunday in Pittsburgh.
“Me and Zach even talked about it a few times. Now it’s time to go out there and do it on Sundays. .. I just want to make him feel as comfortable as possible out there.”
As much as he would have relished the chance at a reunion with Justin Fields, his quarterback at Ohio State, everyone knew that was a pipe dream because the Bears had surrendered their first-round pick to the Giants, and Garrett Wilson wasn’t going to last past the Jets at No. 10 in the 2022 draft.
In 2021, the Jets preferred Zach Wilson to Fields, and Garrett Wilson, as much as anyone, will be instrumental in proving whether they were right.
“[Practice] was the most excited I’ve seen him since he went down,” Garrett Wilson said. “He’s been talking about it for the last couple of weeks working really hard to get back to this point, and now we’re here.Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will finally get a chance to play with rookie WR Garrett Wilson on Sunday.Bill Kostroun
“Now it’s just time to really go out on Sunday and prove to the world what we can do.”
What Garrett Wilson can do is be a difference-maker, and make life easier for what figures to be a rusty Zach Wilson.
“He’s a freak, he’s hard to stay in front of,” Zach Wilson said. “He’s hard to throw the ball to sometimes, he’s faking me out, you know what I mean? We’re starting to get comfortable with the way that he’s gonna do things. You can definitely trust he’s gonna get it done.”
What Zach Wilson can do, and vows to keep on doing without fear, is extending plays and improvising when the pocket breaks down.
“You gotta stay live throughout the whole play,” Garrett Wilson said. “The scramble drill’s going to be huge for us with Zach back there. You’re never dead, the ball can go up. He’s got a cannon. He can put it anywhere on the field.”
Zach Wilson was hyped about the possibilities when Garrett Wilson enjoyed his breakout game, Week 2 in Cleveland, with Joe Flacco.
“ ‘They couldn’t guard you dude, they can’t guard you.’ That’s what he said,” Garrett Wilson said. “Zach’s the king of that, man, he’s always building your confidence up, making you feel good about what you’re doing, what you’re bringing to the table. Being a young dude, that’s big for me.”
I asked Zach Wilson if it as fun for him to watch Garrett Wilson as it is for us.
He laughed and said: “It is when I’m throwing it to him. Hopefully I can get back there and get him some catches.”
Garrett Wilson became familiarized with Zach Wilson when the quarterback was at BYU, and referenced an impressive late drive against Coastal Carolina.
“A lot of times we [Ohio State] would watch Zach play on the flight back and they would be playing like at 10 p.m.,” Garrett said. “The main thing I remember noticing is the arm talent, how he likes to take chances, take shots and trusting his receiver.”
On Wednesday, he had himself an up-close and personal view.
“Still putting the ball in tight spots, and really slinging it,” Garrett said.
Exactly how he remembered his Ohio State quarterback, Fields.Zach Wilson works out at Jets practice on Wednesday.Bill KostrounGarrett Wilson scores a touchdown against the Browns.USA TODAY Sports
“They both can really spin it and throw it well,” Garrett said. “When I’m being a receiver, I’m just trying to catch everything that’s thrown at me.”
Zach Wilson, back in the saddle: “It’s the happiest I’ve been in a month.”
Garrett Wilson was happy for him.
“He’s been going through a lot,” Garrett said. “He came in, had a really good offseason, and expected to be there Week 1 with us, and obviously wasn’t. No one ever wants to get hurt in preseason. When he went down, I just know how we all felt for him and how he felt. He’s just really got some really good energy about him that walking around the facility you can feel it.”
Zach Wilson will need help, of course, and should not try to carry the Jets on his shoulders. Wilson to Wilson. At last.