Utah QB Cam Rising ahead of schedule for ACL rehab, Whittingham says

Utes coach Kyle Whittingham says the quarterback is on track to be ready for season opener vs. Florida.

(Meg Oliphant | Special to The Tribune) Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) looks on during warm ups before the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 2, 2023 in Pasadena, Calif.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has said a number of times since the Rose Bowl that he expects Cam Rising to be ready for the Aug. 31 opener against Florida coming off rehab for a torn ACL.

He previously told The Salt Lake Tribune in February that in order to play in the opener, Rising needs to show up at some point during camp. On Friday, Whttingham offered new optimism that that’s exactly what will happen.

“Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely,” Whittingham said when asked if he expects Rising to be ready at some point during camp, which is expected to begin on or around Aug. 1. “He’s throwing already and ahead with his rehab. We don’t want to push it because if you do that, then you end up with chronic soreness, swelling, that type of thing.

“To this point, he’s doing great, and we fully expect to have him for the opener certainly, unless we have a setback. In preparation for that, hopefully, 10-14 days out from the opener where he can start to really practice.

Whittingham later indicated the QB2 competition that highlighted spring practice would move into the summer with redshirt freshman Brandon Rose at the top of the pecking order, ahead of Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson.

Rose, who ran the scout team for the final 75% of last season, went 19-for-24 for 233 yards and a touchdown in the 22 Forever Game, cementing what was already a strong, optimistic spring.

“If we had to play tomorrow, he would start, but fortunately, we don’t have to play tomorrow and we can continue to get these guys better and let this competition continue to play out.

Rose, Barnes, and Johnson will get all the reps early in fall camp, with Johnson, a dynamic redshirt freshman, standing as the biggest unknown after he missed roughly one-third of spring with an injury.