It’s no secret that Cam Rising was the secret sauce that elevated the Utes to historic heights last season. Despite failing to earn the starting job at the start of the season, Rising stepped up to the plate in an attempt to complete a come-from-behind victory over San Diego State and had an immediate impact. Utah’s offense went from largely inept to one of the best out west almost instantly, and if the reports coming out of the first day of fall camp are any indication, Rising is still on the rise.
“He’s one of the hardest workers on the team if not the hardest. His performances are outstanding, his film study, there is no weakness in Cam Rising right now. He’s doing everything right,” exclaimed head coach Kyle Whittingham following day one of practice; unusually high praise from the historically defensive-minded coach.
Rising, affectionately known as #ThiccBoi7 due to his muscular physique, was named Utah’s starter back in 2020 but lasted a mere 14 plays before a season-ending shoulder injury benched the promising Texas transfer. That injury likely had an impact on the decision to start Baylor transfer, Charlie Brewer, last season before his ho-hum performance through three weeks forced a change because Rising himself has now commented on his regained arm strength, stating “It feels like it’s back. Last year, I didn’t feel all the way comfortable throwing the deep ball but this year it definitely feels a lot more comfortable getting the ball down field.”
Knowing now that Rising didn’t feel as though his arm was 100% last season, the decision to start Brewer makes more sense, though there was never any public indication that Rising was anything less than 100%. Considering his 84.2 QBR ranked him head and shoulders above his PAC-12 counterparts (and 6th nationally), Utah fans must be salivating just thinking about how high the junior quarterback’s ceiling can be coming off a conference championship and impressive performance in the Rose Bowl.
Bolstering the potential for another historic season, Rising has found apparently found a favorite target in seasoned sophomore, Devaughn Vele, something fans got a preview of during this year’s spring game.
“Devaughn Vele, target number one right now. He had an outstanding day today. Solomon Enis, played a lot of good football for us. We also have five or six new guys that haven’t sorted themselves out obviously after just one practice but all showed they have the potential so we’ll see,” said Whittingham post-practice. This, coupled with the known commodities in tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaide could make for some of the most explosive passing opportunities since Alex Smith was lighting up the scoreboard in 2004.
With one historic season already behind him and a mountain of praise large enough to rival the Wasatch Range, Rising isn’t resting on his laurels. “I still got to attack it and prove I’m the best guy for the job each and every day,” said the starter. “I just keep trying to improve. Handle my 20 square feet and then the rest will fall into place.”