‘A little more like home’: Utes QB Cameron Rising adjusting to his new life at Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig can easily recall the first time he met Cameron Rising.

It was Ludwig’s first day on the job, his first day up on the hill after nearly a decade spent as a nomadic college football coordinator, and Rising was in the midst of his official visit to Utah, family in tow.

“He was here with his parents, on his official visit,” Ludwig said. “They are good people.”

Rising remembers the day too, particularly the chance he had to sit down with Ludwig.

“It was his first day here and I got to sit down and talk a little ball with him,” Rising said.

That sit-down with Ludwig, his overall recruitment by tight ends coach Freddie Whittingham and a well-timed fresh batch of snow on the ground — “It was new to see snow and all that,” Rising, a native of Newbury Park in Southern California, said — all made for a memorable visit to Utah.

Memorable enough that Rising committed to join the Utes.

“I was ecstatic that he committed and signed with the program,” Ludwig said.

Ludwig’s excitement is understandable.

As is well-known by now, Rising was a high-profile four-star prospect coming out of high school.

“He has a high football IQ and he’s got some real dynamics about him in terms of having a pro-style type of throwing motion, but the athleticism to also do some spread things,” Ludwig said. “And he loves football.”

Those attributes led Rising to receive offers from 25 FBS programs, per Rivals.

Among them were Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and Miami (Florida). Ultimately, he chose Texas, under head coach Tom Herman.

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At the end of his freshman season, however, one he redshirted without taking a single in-game snap, Rising was prepared to move on, via the transfer portal.

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Texas, though, something he is quick to point out.

The process involved talking to his coaches at Texas, flying home to discuss his future with his family, and then a return trip to Austin.

Even then, after being told he could enter his name into the transfer portal, the Longhorns made it clear they would recruit Rising just like any school that hoped to secure his services.

Ultimately, the Utes won out.

“I just liked it here,” Rising said. “I had good conversations and everything seemed cool. It was new and interesting.”

Visits are never quite the same as the real thing, however, and the move to Salt Lake City has been an adjustment.

“Salt Lake and Austin is a big change,” Rising said with a chuckle. “I am just trying to get used to a new situation.”

The two dozen Californians littered throughout Utah’s roster have been a big help.

“I like being around a lot more California guys,” Rising said. “I have a little bit of a tighter connection with them, and because of that it feels a little more like home here.”

He is growing comfortable with his fellow quarterbacks as well.

“It has been good. Really, really good,” Rising said. “All the guys have been really good to me. I have a lot of love for those guys so far.”

Per Ludwig, Rising’s own personality has helped engender that type of warm reception.

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“He is a great teammate,” Ludwig said. “He has a lot of passion and energy for the game and brings it every day.”

For all of his interpersonal relationship success, the on-the-field transition has been a little more trying.

For one thing, Rising is learning a whole new football language.

“He is a young quarterback learning a new system,” Ludwig said. “He has to master the terminology, and it is a new language for him.”

There is also the fact that Ludwig’s system is quite a bit different from the one Rising ran under Herman at Texas.

“It is a lot different,” Rising said. “There is a lot more under center and a lot more huddling up. It has been an adjustment.”

As Utah’s fourth-string quarterback — Rising is currently the recipient of limited reps as he awaits an NCAA ruling on his eligibility for next season — he has time to learn, however, and it is time he expects to be well-spent.

“I want to get to know the playbook as well as I can,” Rising said. “Come fall, I want to feel comfortable running whatever I need to run.”

Ultimately, Rising’s future up on the hill is bright, even bright enough to perhaps earn him the starting quarterback job come 2020.

Until then, though, there is work to be done.

“He has a lot of strides to make,” Ludwig said. “He’s a young quarterback.”

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