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Is Utah’s Cam Rising ‘this year’s Zach Wilson’?

Some scouts believe he could be the next quarterback to see his NFL draft stock soar from sleeper to first-round material

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Utah quarterback Cam Rising evades the tackle of Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell during the Pac-12 championship game.

Utah Utes quarterback Cam Rising (7) evades the tackle from Oregon Ducks linebacker Noah Sewell (1) during the Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

University of Utah quarterback Cam Rising showed what he could do last season after transferring from Texas and being forced to sit out a year.

The results were more than impressive: After taking over as the Utes’ starting QB midway through the team’s third game, Rising threw for 2,493 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions, while adding 499 rushing yards and six more touchdowns.

He put up a QBR rating of 84.2, per ESPN’s metrics, which ranked sixth nationally and is the best among Pac-12 quarterbacks returning this season.

He also led the Utes to their first Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl appearance.

That kind of production has the junior signal-caller getting national attention, including being named to the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Award watch lists this week

Some, like ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. earlier this offseason, believe that 2022 could be the year Rising rises to the occasion and makes himself one of the top NFL quarterback prospects next spring.

Fellow ESPN NFL draft expert Matt Miller interviewed NFL scouts to help him gauge what players could see their draft stock take a meteoric rise, and on Tuesday, he released a list of six sleeper prospects to watch for, with Rising among them.

Because the 2023 QB class is expected to have many top names in it — guys like Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud leading the way — Miller initially has Rising as a Day 2 prospect, “but with the tools to shoot up the board.”

Rising recently participated in the Manning Passing Academy, and his performance there caught the attention of scouts.

“All the hype coming out of Manning was Rising’s arm talent and mobility. He’s not the biggest guy, but I heard he outperformed a lot of the name quarterbacks there,” one scout told Miller.

Rising, who served as a coach during the camp, was also there with other big-name college quarterbacks, like Alabama’s Young, Florida’s Anthony Richardson (who Rising will face in the Utes’ season opener) and Oregon’s Ty Thompson.

There’s even been some chatter that Rising could make a rise up the draft prospect board like a former BYU quarterback did two years ago.

“Everyone wants to put their stamp on a sleeper quarterback, but he’s mine,” another scout told Miller, regarding Rising. “Dude can spin it and has a toughness to him you love to see. I heard he wowed people at the Manning camp. He could be this year’s Zach Wilson.”

During his junior season at BYU, Wilson saw his draft stock soar while leading the Cougars to an 11-1 record, and he ended up the No. 2 overall pick by the New York Jets in the 2020 NFL draft.