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Utah Quarterback Cam Rising Gives Back To Second Home In Big Way

Jun 15, 2024, 7:44 PM | Updated: Jun 17, 2024, 2:24 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football quarterback Cam Rising is beloved by fans for what he has done on the field the past few years and is now making his mark off of it too.

The first rendition of his “Rising Stars” football camp in partnership with GATS Entertainment Group was a success and has plans of continuing in the future.

Not bad for a guy who didn’t necessarily always have the Utes or the state of Utah on his radar in the beginning.

 

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Cam Rising, Utah Football Were Meant To Be But Almost Didn’t Happen

During media availability in the lead up to the 2023 Rose Bowl, Rising recounted to KSL Sports his journey to Utah- a place he now considers a second home, and how it almost didn’t happen.

“When [Utah] came, I was committed to Oklahoma,” Rising said. “They also had Jack Tuttle. I was just thinking I probably shouldn’t waste coach Harding’s time when he came to campus. There wasn’t any real rhyme or reason to me, so, I kind of just blew it off. A few years later we ended up talking about it and it was fun. [Harding] still gives me a hard time about it today, but it was good, and after that it was a wild ride. Just had to ride the wave and enjoy my time doing it.”

Rising ultimately ended up at Texas during his freshman year in 2018 after his initial commitment to Oklahoma. However, his time with the Longhorns didn’t quite work out how he had hoped, so, Rising entered the transfer portal in 2019. Ironically enough, the team Rising initially turned down in high school became the place he would call home and make a lasting impact.

 

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“Just going on campus and seeing the team and seeing how guys interacted,” Rising said. “Seeing the coaches- knowing that coach Whitt is always going to pretty much be in place as the head man. It gives you a whole lot of confidence going there. I knew it was a good situation and was excited to get in there and see the valley.”

Rising Making His Seventh Year In Utah Count

Admittedly, Rising has spent a few more seasons in Salt Lake City than he likely intended, but he’s made the most of them helping the Utes earn two back-to-back Pac-12 Championships and Rose Bowl appearances.

2023 obviously didn’t go how anyone wanted, but the temporary setback put Rising and the Utes in a good position for a major comeback in their first year in the Big 12, but that story is yet to be written.

In the here and now, Rising has decided to make the most of an almost unprecedented seventh season putting on the first-ever “Rising Stars” football camp and Salt Lake City is benefitting in a major way.

“I’ve been blessed to be in the state of Utah, really, and have such a great following,” Rising said. “All the Utes fans come out and show so much support for us, so doing this- giving back to the community in any way I can has been surreal so far.”

About four months ago Rising and his father Nicko reached out to GATS Entertainment about brainstorming how to put on an event that addressed several different needs for fans and a city that have come to mean so much to them.

The end result was a football camp that gave young kids and the special needs community a few hours of unlimited access to Rising and a whole slew of his Utah football teammates.

“It’s surreal being in this position,” Rising said. “I remember being a camper back a long time ago- it’s crazy to be on this side and having people look up to you. I appreciate it and I’m glad to be in this position.”

 

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Cam Rising, Utah Football, & GATS Entertainment Fulfilled A Lot Of Needs In Utah

What made Rising’s camp particularly special was the effort to include as many people as possible.

The main portion of the “Rising Stars” football camp provided two evenings with Rising and his Utah football teammates for ages K-12. Additionally, Rising made sure to provide time for the special needs community which often get left out of camps like these with a “12th Man” camp.

“I just wanted to make sure everyone has an opportunity,” Rising said. “Football is sometimes only for a select few and when you can invite more people to be involved with football- it just expands the horizon for football and makes sure everyone gets that opportunity. We just finished up right now and it was a great time with the ’12th Man’. Hopefully we get to do that again with them. It was a great time.”

 

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Bobbi-Jo Irey is a behavior therapist with experience working with non-verbal, autistic, and down-syndrome children and adults that helped put together the special needs portion of Rising’s camp. For her, it was special seeing the individuals she works so hard to give “normal” and enriching experiences to have the opportunity to spend so much one-on-one time with one of Utah football’s brightest stars.

“‘When I found out he was going to be here I was just amazed,” Irey said. “I thought he was amazing with all the children giving them hugs, high fives, and autographs. I think it’s important because once they get older, they will have those videos, pictures, and they’ll have autographed footballs and hats.”

Along with providing a safe space to participate for the special needs community, Rising and his Utah football teammates donated their NIL to “For the Kids” foundation which helps ensure kids get meals throughout the year while also encouraging fans to drop by and donate canned goods in an effort to fill the Utah football equipment truck for the organization.

As of this publication exact numbers were not available, but KSL Sports was told “For the Kids” is very pleased with the outcome of both efforts.

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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