Cam Rising evolving entering first full season as starter

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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SALT LAKE CITY — Unlike last season, Cam Rising isn’t facing a battle to become Utah’s starting quarterback heading into a new year.

Rising cemented his spot atop the depth chart when he led the Utes to their first Pac-12 championship and first Rose Bowl berth a season ago. Now, he’s eager to show off all his skills.

“There’s no weakness in Cam Rising right now,” coach Kyle Whittingham. “He’s doing everything right coming off an outstanding year.”

One area where Rising has made strides is his arm strength. Rising did not test his surgically repaired shoulder with deep balls much last season. He had five 200-yard games and one 300-yard game as a passer. This season could be a much different story.

He has been fearless about taking shots down the field in camp and pushing his receivers to make plays on the outside.

“(My arm) feels like it’s back,” Rising said. “Last year, didn’t feel all the way getting comfortable throwing the deep ball. But this year, it definitely feels more comfortable getting the ball downfield and pushing it.”

Rising’s teammates are believers. His accuracy on deeper routes has left them impressed.

“He’s slinging it a little faster and a little harder,” tight end Dalton Kincaid said. “I can definitely tell the arm strength’s there and there’s a lot of confidence in it.”

Becoming a threat with the deep ball will simply add a new wrinkle to Rising’s skillset, which routinely flummoxes defenses.

He kept opposing teams off balance with his running ability last season, totaling 499 yards while averaging 6.7 yards per carry. Rising even chipped in on special teams as an emergency punter. He averaged 32.7 yards on three punts last season.

Still, Rising said he entered Utah’s fall camp with the same determination to prove himself that he’s shown since joining the program as a transfer from Texas.

“I still got to attack it and prove I’m the best guy for the job each and every day,” Rising said.

Rising won the confidence of his teammates and coaches long before he replaced Charlie Brewer halfway through a Week 3 loss to San Diego State last season. The junior quickly showed what inspired that confidence in the first place.

He threw for 2,493 yards and 20 touchdowns while tossing only five interceptions to help fuel Utah’s successful championship run. Rising completed 63.8% of his pass attempts.

Among Pac-12 quarterbacks, he ranked third in passing yards per game (214.1), third in passing efficiency (145.74), and second in passing yards per completion (12.76) in conference games. At season’s end, Rising earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors.

Whittingham attributes Rising’s emergence to his work ethic. The coach described him as one of the hardest workers on the team and said it has impacted every facet of his game.

“I just keep trying to improve,” Rising said.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.