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A quarterback competition is heating up at the University of Utah between two veterans trying to reinvent themselves in 2021. Cam Rising arrived in Salt Lake City in January of 2019 after taking a redshirt year in Austin, Texas as a member of the Longhorns. Since coming to Utah, Rising has taken yet another redshirt, and then lost all of 2020 to a shoulder injury in the season-opener.
Instead of coming back to a starting job waiting for him, Rising instead has to beat out Baylor grad transfer Charlie Brewer for the gig. In four seasons at Baylor, Brewer threw for 9,700 yards and 65 touchdowns, and has already attracted preseason attention as the presumptive starter. But obviously head coach Kyle Whittingham feels otherwise, as he has publicly made it clear that a quarterback competition is underway.
“We obviously have Cam Rising waiting in the wings once fall camp begins, so that’ll put a whole new spin on the quarterback competition, but right now, Charlie Brewer is performing better than anybody else,” Whittingham said back in March.
Before Wednesday, Whittingham had noted that, while Rising was 100% healthy and cleared by the Ute medical staff, he “may not have 100% of his arm strength back,” but the expectation was he would by the time camp opened. With Rising’s health no longer a concern, it seems the race is on.
“I’m happy, happy to be back out there with the team, it feels good for sure,” Rising said Wednesday. “Every day, you’re just going in to compete, and you’re trying to make sure you’re as good as you can be for the team. That’s how it is. We’re competing with each other for that No. 1 spot, but it’s all about the team at the end of the day.”
Brewer is also relishing the opportunity to compete for the starting job.
“I think great football teams have competition everywhere, and that’s the makeup of a championship football team, having competition everywhere,” Brewer said. “You just have to go out and compete. Worry about yourself, do as well as you can, and keep improving each day.”
While competition is certainly good for bringing out the best in players, many coaches prefer to have the QB situation crystal clear heading into the season. As the old adage goes, if you have two starting quarterbacks, you really have zero starting quarterbacks. Whittingham has said that he wants to make a decision as soon as possible. With the season opener less than a month away, the clock is ticking.