UTAH UTES

Kyle Whittingham Discusses Utah Quarterback Cam Rising Coming Back For 2024

Nov 20, 2023, 12:51 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2023, 10:23 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football will be starting a new adventure in the Big 12 in 2024 and they got some fantastic news Sunday regarding a familiar, beloved, and key face at the quarterback position.

Cam Rising announced his intention to come back and play for the Utes for one final season once a medical redshirt is procured for the knee injury he sustained in the 2023 Rose Bowl.

As we all know by now, Rising worked hard this past off-season to be back in time for Utah’s final run in the Pac-12. However, despite the effort put in, Rising was unable to pass the last few hurdles of his recovery and shut it down for the rest of the year after the USC game.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was on hand Monday morning to discuss the significance of Rising coming back for the Utes and what needs to happen to finalize the move.

A Bad Moon Rising In The Big 12

Even before Rising’s announcement of a return for a final year of eligibility, Utah was expected to come into their new home in the Big 12 as a top contender. Rising leading the charge for Utah in 2024 helps solidify the argument that the Utes could be the top dog in their new conference.

It is expected that Rising’s announcement will do a lot to not only help sway other guys in the program on the fence about coming back but will also help attract top Transfer Portal talent to Salt Lake City as well.

“Going forward for our program, that’s a huge component to our team,” Whittingham said of Rising’s decision. “It will help in recruiting. It will help, maybe, a few guys who are one the fence. Do I come out or do I stay? Maybe a few of those guys decide to return because of that. Cam has got to be one of the best, if not the best returning quarterback in the country. He’s won two championships for us. He’s an ultimate leader. A supreme leader. He’s an alpha dog and I can’t even tell you how excited we are- elated that we are. It’s going to be a great start and big part of our outlook on next year’s season.”

Not only could Rising and Utah be in for a Big 12 Championship in year one of their new conference, but the pathway to the College Football Playoff will be considerably easier as well as the system moves to a 12-team format. It’s a great situation for Rising to come back and showcase he’s recovered from his injury and possibly be a high-level quarterback in the NFL.

“Cam wants to play in the NFL and we think he is suited for that,” Whittingham started. “Coming back and proving he’s healthy again and can perform at the same level I think- I think he thinks this as well- I’m not trying to speak for him, but it gives him an opportunity to prove that he belongs and he’s one of the elite quarterbacks in the country. I think he has a good taste for our program and enjoys it here. He’s very popular with his teammates and popular with the community. Plus, a new challenge the Big 12. I mean, that’s exciting. He’s combined all of that and I think that’s what went into it. I told him what I thought and how I agreed coming back was in his best interest. I try to keep all of the self-serving components out of it. It’s what is best for the player.”

Whittingham did note that he expects Rising to be ready for spring ball, though he did mention that will be up to Rising and the medical team.

“We hope so,” Whittingham said. “That is up to him and the medical staff, but from my vantage point- I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be.”

Cam Rising’s Utah Career

Rising has been a great find for Utah at the quarterback position after transferring to the team in 2019 from Texas.

Since Rising’s arrival to Salt Lake City his leadership has helped see the Utes through some unimaginably dark times while also taking them to new heights.

With Rising at the helm, Utah won two-straight Pac-12 Championships and made two Rose Bowl appearances.

Rising’s play has helped spark national conversation about the Utes being an interesting potential team for the College Football Playoff along with some outside Heisman talk.

These are all conversations and opportunities Ute fans at one point could only dream of the Utah football program being consistently a part of.

 

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Rising “broke out” in 2021, finishing the year 204 of 320 passing for 2,493 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. He added 499 rushing yards off of 79 carries along with six additional touchdowns.

Rising was named Pac-12 All-Conference first-team after helping the Utes win their first Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl appearance in program history.

Rising’s personal and team accomplishments all came about while dealing with the shocking deaths of teammates Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe.

Rising improved his stats in 2022, but in a quarterback heavy class including improved quarterback play in the Pac-12 alone, Rising was a little lost in the shuffle.

QB1 for the Utes completed 249 of 385 passes in 2022 for 3,024 yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions for a 64.7% completion rate. Rising added an additional 465 yards and six touchdowns on the ground off of 77 carries.

The talented quarterback ended 2022 as an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and the Pac-12 Championship MVP.

Rising does still have to get approval from the NCAA, but Whittingham was very clear he currently does not see that as being an issue. It’s just about going through the proper procedures.

“As far as I know it’s a very strong possibility,” Whittingham said. “At this moment and time there still has to be paperwork and some sort of procedure that they have to go through.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Kyle Whittingham Discusses Utah Quarterback Cam Rising Coming Back For 2024