Utah quarterback Cam Rising, who led the team to back-to-back Pac-12 titles, has been dealt a devastating blow. After injuring his knee during last year’s Rose Bowl, Rising underwent surgery to repair multiple ligament tears. Although there was optimism about his return this season, it has been officially announced by coach Kyle Whittingham that Rising will be shut down for the rest of the year. This news comes as a disappointment to Rising and the entire Utah football program.
Rising’s injury was more severe than initially thought. The senior quarterback revealed that it wasn’t just an ACL tear but also included a torn meniscus, MPFL, and MCL. Such an extensive surgery requires a significant amount of time and effort to recover from. Rising has been working tirelessly to get back on the field, demonstrating his dedication and determination. However, sometimes the body needs more time to heal, and in this case, it seems that Rising made the difficult decision to prioritize his long-term health.
With Rising out of action, the Utah Utes have had to adapt their quarterback situation. Coach Whittingham has turned to a combination of Bryson Barnes and freshman Nate Johnson to take on the starting role. Despite some initial uncertainty with a two-quarterback system, the tandem has found success, leading the Utes to a 6-1 record. Johnson had briefly taken the reins before Whittingham gave Barnes a chance, which proved to be a wise decision. Barnes showcased his abilities against USC, throwing for 235 yards, three touchdowns, and also contributing with his legs. His 23-yard gain in the final quarter set up a game-winning field goal, sealing a memorable victory for Utah.
The loss of Rising has emphasized the need for depth in the quarterback position. Utah has been fortunate to have capable backups who have stepped up when called upon. Barnes and Johnson have shown that they are more than capable of leading the team, and their performances have been instrumental in the Utes’ success. This highlights the importance of developing players and having a strong roster that can handle adversity when key players go down with injuries.
There is still uncertainty surrounding Rising’s future. Having been in college since 2018, it remains to be seen if he will be granted a seventh year of eligibility. It would be a welcomed development for the Utes if Rising decides to return, as his experience and leadership would be invaluable. However, until a decision is made, the team will continue to rely on the talents of Barnes and Johnson, who have proven themselves capable of leading the offense.
In addition to Rising, tight end Brant Kuithe has also suffered a significant setback. Kuithe, who has been recovering from a torn ACL, will join Rising on the sidelines for the remainder of the year. This news further complicates Utah’s offensive plans, as Kuithe was expected to be a key target in the passing game. The Utes will need to make adjustments and rely on other playmakers to fill the void left by Kuithe’s absence.
The unfortunate end to Cam Rising’s season is a loss for both him personally and the Utah football program. Rising’s dedication to his recovery is commendable, but sometimes the body needs more time to heal. Utah has been fortunate to have capable backups in Barnes and Johnson, who have stepped up and led the team to success. Moving forward, the team will continue to adapt and adjust without Rising and Kuithe, hoping for their eventual return.