Cam Rising is moving into his first full season as a starter | Sports
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Unlike last season, Cam Rising isn’t facing a battle to become Utah’s starting quarterback heading into a new year.
Rising cemented his place at the top of the depth chart when he led the Utes to their first Pac-12 championship and first Rose Bowl berth a season ago. Now he can’t wait to show off all his skills.
“There’s no weakness in Cam Rising right now,” coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He’s doing everything well after an outstanding year.”
One area that Rising has made progress in is his arm strength. Rising didn’t test his surgically repaired shoulder much with deep balls last season. He had five 200-yard games and one 300-yard game as a passer. This season could be a much different story.
He wasn’t afraid to shoot the field in camp and push his receivers to make plays on the road.
“(My arm) feels like it’s back,” Rising said. “Last year, I didn’t feel at all comfortable throwing the ball deep. But this year I definitely feel more comfortable putting the ball on the court and pushing it.”
Rising’s teammates are believers. Its precision on deeper roads impressed them.
“He throws it a little faster and a little harder,” tight end Dalton Kincaid said. “I can definitely say the arm strength is there and there’s a lot of confidence in him.”
Becoming a threat with the deep ball will simply add a new wrinkle to Rising’s skill set, which regularly disrupts defenses.
He unbalanced opposing teams with his running ability last season, averaging 499 yards averaging 6.7 yards per carry. Rising has even competed on special teams as an emergency punter. He averaged 32.7 yards on three punts last season.
Still, Rising said he entered Utah’s fall camp with the same determination to prove himself he’s shown since joining the program as a transfer from Texas.
“I still have to attack him and prove that I’m the best guy for the job every day,” Rising said.
Rising earned the trust of his teammates and coaches long before he replaced Charlie Brewer midway through a Week 3 loss to San Diego State last season. The junior quickly showed what inspired that confidence in the first place.
He threw for 2,493 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing just five interceptions to help fuel Utah’s championship success. Rising completed 63.8% of his pass attempts.
Among Pac-12 quarterbacks, he ranked third in passing yards per game (214.1), third in passing efficiency (145.74), and second in passing yards. by completion (12.76) in conference games. At the end of the season, Rising earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors.
Whittingham attributes Rising’s emergence to his work ethic. The coach described him as one of the team’s hardest workers and said it had an impact on all facets of his game.
“I keep trying to get better,” Rising said.
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