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It’s something that’s becoming increasingly rare in the transfer portal era.

Three-star quarterback Brandon Rose, who signed his Utah letter of intent in December 2021, has continued to patiently wait his turn, even as others transferred out of the program.

“Just having faith. I like it here. Just knowing that I know what I can do and I’m confident in myself and my ability that I can play here.” — Utah QB Brandon Rose on decision to stay at Utah

Unlike other position groups, quarterback stands alone in being the hardest to see game action. There’s only one spot on the field.

Nearly all of the quarterbacks that have come through the program since 2022, including Nate Johnson, Mack Howard and Bryson Barnes, have or will have transferred out from Utah by this offseason.

It’s understandable. Football players want to see the field, not sit on the bench.

No one would blame Rose if he transferred, especially because starting quarterback Cam Rising is returning in 2024. If all goes well with Rising’s health, and he starts all year, it will mark three seasons that Rose has been at Utah without taking a snap of game action.

Through it all, even with Rising coming back, Rose has been committed to staying at Utah.

“Just having faith. I like it here. Just knowing that I know what I can do and I’m confident in myself and my ability that I can play here,” Rose said.

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The transfer portal isn’t an instant success machine, either. According to On3 data, 215 quarterbacks have put their names in the transfer portal. With only 133 FBS schools, and not every school (like Utah) needing a starting quarterback, some of those quarterbacks will have to take a backup job, or even not get picked up by another school, leaving them without a scholarship.

For every transfer portal success story like Jayden Daniels, who transferred from Arizona State to LSU and won the 2023 Heisman Trophy, there’s five quarterbacks that may have regretted their decision to enter the portal.

“I think people in situations may benefit from it. People may hurt themselves from it,” Rose said. “The portal’s a tricky situation. A bunch of people, a bunch of athletes in there, so it’s kind of tough for me to comment on. I don’t know a bunch about it as well either, but I just know that I’m here, I got a good place and I’m happy where I’m at and just going to make the most of it for sure.”

By all accounts, Rose was in pole position for the backup job, which turned into the starting job after Rising didn’t play all season, to start fall camp. But after suffering an injury in a fall scrimmage, he missed the better part of two months.

With that missed time, Utah felt Barnes gave them the best chance to win this season, and Utah and Rose went down the path of obtaining a medical redshirt, Whittingham said in late October.

“I mean, yeah, it wasn’t everything that I hoped for this year, but roll with the punches, make the most of your opportunities and make the most of what happens in life. You can’t control things like that,” Rose said of his injury. “So just turning a negative situation into a positive, really. That’s just at the end of the day what I’m trying to do.”

After getting back in action after the injury this fall, Rose has been the scout team quarterback, playing against Utah’s defense, which has helped him improve his game.

“We’ve got a top 10 defense in almost every category every year, so seeing those looks, seeing the speed that they’re coming at helps out a lot and it’s just great to compete against them,” Rose said.

Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has liked what he’s seen out of Rose this year.

“Tremendous growth and it was really unfortunate, the injury that happened in fall camp that really set him back,” Ludwig said. “When you’re on the sideline for about six weeks, I think, before he got back with us, he was just so far removed from what we were doing. But I think he really has made progress and matured as a player working with the scout team offense, working against one of the best defenses in the country. Every day is going to be nothing but a benefit for him and for the Utes.” 

Even though Rising is returning next year, Rose is in a great position to win the backup job. Thus far, it looks like Utah’s quarterback room in 2024 will be Rising, Rose, Corner Canyon quarterback Isaac Wilson, Luke Bottari and Steve Smedley. Next season will be Rose’s third season at Utah, making him — along with Bottari — the most veteran of Utah’s backups next year.

Rose displayed why Utah recruited him in the 2023 spring game, showcasing his arm talent while completing 19 of 24 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown. After two years learning Ludwig’s system, the former three-star prospect will certainly be one of the favorites to win the QB2 job.

“I learned a lot being here. He’s a great coach. He’s a great mind,” Rose said of Ludwig. “Probably one of the smartest coaches, offensive minds that I’ve been around, so it’s great just meeting with him every day in the meeting room, going through film, going through different things, and yeah, it helps a lot having a guy like that to coach you up.”

In 2025, the starting quarterback job could be wide open after Rising’s final season in 2024, and Rose could be in prime position to seize it. He should be granted the medical redshirt, and combined with his redshirt in his true freshman season, he’d still have three seasons of eligibility when 2025 rolls around.

Not that he’s thinking two years in the future right now, instead trying to improve his game every day.

“College ball, you got to take things every day, day by day, different situations happen. I think the main thing is just taking it day by day, not trying to look too far in the future, not looking in the past, but just kind of controlling what you can control, and that’s kind of how I live, day by day,” Rose said.

In case you missed it

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Utah signed most of its 2024 recruiting class as the early signing period opened, including four of the top six players in the state of Utah.

Corner Canyon quarterback Isaac Wilson and Corner Canyon offensive tackle Isaiah Garcia headlined Utah’s high school recruiting class, which is smaller than usual due to the Utes wanting to leave scholarship space for transfer portal targets.

Check out our up-to-the-minute coverage of the 2024 class here.

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Extra points

  • Where do the Runnin’ Utes stand in latest bracketology? (Deseret News)
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  • 8 quick impressions from the Red Rocks Preview (Deseret News)

Up next

  • Dec. 21 | Noon | Women’s basketball | vs. Weber State | @ Salt Lake City
  • Dec. 23 | 5:30 p.m. | Football | vs. Northwestern | Las Vegas Bowl | @ Las Vegas, Nevada

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Utah Utes coach Kyle Whittingham shouts instruction in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. Utah won 23-17. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
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