Utah QB Cam Rising returning for 2024: Could Utes arrive in Big 12 as league favorites?

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Utah quarterback Cameron Rising will use a medical redshirt to return to the Utes for the 2024 season, he announced in a video posted to his social media accounts Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Rising led the Utes to back-to-back Pac-12 championships in 2021 and ’22 but was injured in a Rose Bowl loss to Penn State on Jan. 1 and has missed the entire 2023 season.
  • After weeks of public uncertainty about his status this fall, he revealed in October that he suffered a torn ACL, MCL, meniscus and MPFL, a ligament that helps stabilize the kneecap in the Rose Bowl.
  • Utah will play its first season in the Big 12 in 2024, alongside fellow ex-Pac-12 foes Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State.

How Rising’s return boosts Utah’s 2024 outlook

The new-look Big 12 might have its early 2024 favorite with the announcement that Rising is returning for a seventh season of college football. The former Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year was unable to return from the severe knee injury that has kept him sidelined this fall. There were questions about whether Rising, who turns 25 next May, would opt to test the NFL Draft waters. Instead, he’ll use a medical redshirt and run it back one more time in Salt Lake City.

The Utes now have clarity heading into their first season in a new conference. Without Rising’s dual-threat presence in the backfield this fall, the Utes were unable to complete their quest for a conference title three-peat in the final year of the Pac-12. To say Rising was sorely missed by the Utah offense would be putting it nicely. Entering the final week of the season, Utah sits 83rd in the country in total offense and 107th in passing offense (just 183.8 yards per game). In 2022, Utah finished 11th in the country in total offense with Rising at the helm.

The most pressing question of Utah’s offseason has an answer before the offseason has even arrived. With a clean bill of health, Rising would immediately thrust the Utes into the mix as preseason Big 12 favorites. — Chris Kamrani

What does Rising have left to prove?

Being hurt is never a good thing. But a silver lining here for Rising is the fact this year’s class of NFL Draft-eligible quarterbacks is so deep, even if he had made it back for any stretch this year it would have been tough for him to climb past the healthier (and very talented) competition around him. This decision gives him a chance to be completely healthy when he gets back on the field. Rising had a very productive 2022 through the air, but we needed to see a more consistently accurate ball from him this season. Hopefully, we get to see more of that, with extra growth, in 2024 for a guy who could be a nice mid- to late-round prospect. — Nick Baumgardner

(Photo: Chris Gardner / Getty Images)

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