Cam Rising’s return, Utah hoops, and another hot start for the Red Rocks

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Utah’s Cameron Rising gestures a first down while playing against Penn State Nittany Lions in the 109th Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. Earlier this month the Utes QB announced he would be returning for his senior season.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

While Utah suffered a disappointing setback in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2, spirits were brightened one week later.

On Monday, quarterback Cam Rising announced that he’ll be returning next season as the Utes attempt to win their third consecutive Pac-12 championship.

“I’m excited, just looking forward to getting back in the building and going to work,” Rising said on an NIL podcast released Monday. “I’m excited to get back on the field at Rice-Eccles. It’s gonna be great.”

Rising’s return, presuming that he’s healthy, makes Utah a legitimate contender, and perhaps the favorite, for another Pac-12 championship.

Joining him will be tight end Brant Kuithe, tight end Thomas Yassmin and wide receiver Devaughn Vele. Meanwhile, Utah’s 2023 class is the program’s highest-ranked recruiting class ever.

At the dawning of a new year, there’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to Utah football.

The Utes kick off the season on Sept. 2 at home against Florida.

In case you missed it

Utah men’s basketball team opened Pac-12 play with a 5-0 record before falling at home to Oregon 70-60 Saturday. The Runnin’ Utes face another tough test this week when they visit No. 7 UCLA (Thursday) and USC (Saturday).

Although Utah dropped its first Pac-12 game, there was good news. Utes players and coaches were grateful for the fan support.

“I do want to thank our fans who came out tonight. That is partially why (it hurts so much). I mean, it sucks losing,” said coach Craig Smith. “But we finally, I mean, we had a good crowd tonight and I thought they had a great spirit to them and were trying to will us when we were kinda stuck in the mud there for a stretch.”

Numbers game

10: The Utes’ ranking in the final AP poll of the season, released Monday night after the national championship game. It’s the program’s highest final ranking since finishing No. 2 following the 2008 season, when the Utes went undefeated and won the Sugar Bowl.

197.275: The best opening score for Utah gymnastics in 18 years, since 2005 when it recorded a 197.675 mark in a win over UCLA.

8,235: Announced attendance for Saturday’s game against Oregon — a season-high, and the best since last year against BYU (11,443).

From the archives

Extra points

Colorado hands No. 8 Utah women’s basketball 1st loss 77-67 (Deseret News)
Utah football addresses position of need by adding kicker from transfer portal (Deseret News)
Elite Latter-day Saint college football recruit Walker Lyons will reportedly decide his college choice soon (Deseret News)
Why did former Michigan All-American Abby Brenner transfer to Utah? (Deseret News)
One of Utah football’s most important offensive linemen is reportedly entering the transfer portal (Deseret News)
A second Utah running back reportedly enters the transfer portal in as many days (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

Rising is a very good college QB and he’s making over $500k in NIL actions. Rising needs to learn how to throw the deep ball to his receivers, I’m sure that’s what he was told if he wants to make it in the pros, He can throw to the TEs but lacks accuracy and maybe arm strength throwing to the WRs, wish him luck. Now does that mean Utah will lose a QB to the TP?? FYI I do like Rising and seems like a good guy.

— Wise-sage

#7 is a class act competitor big time, win on lose. He respects the game. And make no mistake about it, he has been the catalyst for some big Ute wins the last few years. He has really helped elevate the play of the the team and showing true leadership, especially in bringing the conference titles through SLC. So glad he is back. Hopefully, another run to the championship! The thing that sticks out with Cam is it isn’t about him. Through injuries and setbacks he just rises up. It’s about the team.

Now compare that to #13 for USC. Although he won the Heisman (his play and numbers were deserving) he is no where even close to Cam Rising in class or leadership … and he clearly does not respect the game. I can’t wait to see Cam and the rest of the team defend their championship again next season.

— armchairQBonthehill

Up next

Jan. 12 | 9 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. UCLA | @Los Angeles | Pac-12 Network

Jan. 13 | 6:45 p.m. | Gymnastics | vs. Southern Utah; BYU; Utah State | @West Valley City

Jan. 13 | 7 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Arizona | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Mountain

Jan. 14 | 8:30 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. USC | @Los Angeles | Pac-12 Network

Jan. 15 | Noon | Women’s basketball | vs. Arizona State | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Mountain

Utah Red Rocks gymnasts cheer prior to competing on the floor in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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