Does Cam Rising need more backup? Here’s what Kyle Whittingham says about Utah’s QBs

The Utes might be looking to add depth behind starter Cam Rising.

(Eli Rehmer | Utah Athletics) Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, left, and head coach Kyle Whittingham, center, observe Utah football practice Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

After a season where Utah was left stranded without quality backup quarterback play, head coach Kyle Whittingham indicated he could possibly be in search of an outside remedy.

The Utes coach isn’t ruling out adding a quarterback through the transfer portal this summer to give his team more depth behind veteran starter Cam Rising.

“We will evaluate spring in its entirety once it’s over with,” Whittingham said Tuesday. “The portal opens next Tuesday. So it is very possible that we may be in the market. But maybe not.”

Behind Rising, who is going into his seventh season, Utah has two quarterbacks who haven’t played a snap of college football.

Isaac Wilson, a true freshman out of Corner Canyon, and Brandon Rose are in a battle to be the primary backup. Rose is in his third year with the program, but redshirted as a freshman and was injured all of 2023.

Whittingham has praised both backups through the spring practice, but understands experience could help. Last year, Utah went 7-5 thanks to a revolving door of quarterbacks after Rising was injured.

“We will have to see what we think is best going forward,” Whittingham said of possibly adding a quarterback. A decision will be made “once we have a chance to look at all the evaluations for the entire spring.”

Rising hasn’t played any live snaps since tearing his ACL in January 2023 at the Rose Bowl. He sat out all of last season while recovering from that knee injury.

Whittingham indicated he has no reservations about Rising’s health now.

If Utah does not add a quarterback through the portal, it is still unknown who will be the backup. Wilson and Rose are splitting reps in spring camp and Whittingham has called the competition for the backup job a dead heat.

“Still is,” Whittingham said Tuesday, calling it an even competition between the two quarterbacks. “Isaac has done a great job assimilating the offense and getting everything digested. Brandon Rose has played his best football as a Ute this spring. So he has been a big plus for us. Really it is those two guys battling for two and three.”

That doesn’t mean someone else won’t enter the mix.

The transfer portal opens on April 16.

“We’ll see. We’ll see what happens,” Whittingham said.