Ask anyone around Utah football, and they’ll tell you it’s a different feeling with quarterback Cam Rising back on the field.

Participating in his first spring practice period after missing the last one — and the subsequent season — recovering from knee surgery, the veteran Utah quarterback has looked like his old self during the media viewing sessions this spring.

Designed quarterback runs? Rising has looked fast and fluid. Throwing on the run? No problem. He’s stepped up in the pocket, fired darts for touchdowns and has shown what Utah was missing from the quarterback position last season.

His teammates have taken notice of the difference it makes when he’s out there.

“I mean, it’s a whole lot different. The whole team has confidence. There’s no, who’s going to go out and play quarterback now? We know we got our guy, he’s commanding the offense. He’s that guy for real. So I mean it’s just strides from last year and I’m just happy to be in this position,” tight end Landen King said.

So, too, has Rising’s head coach.

“Every time that he’s out here, every practice he’s been out here, which has been every single one of ‘em this spring, we have confidence. He brings a swagger to the offense and that’s what we were missing last year. So it’s great to have him,” Whittingham said.

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The surgery to repair Rising’s torn ACL, meniscus, MPFL and MCL was performed in January of 2023, and Rising was cleared to practice in the fall, but didn’t play in a game in the 2023 season after not getting the go-ahead to return to game action by his surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who has performed surgeries for a number of renowned athletes, including Shohei Ohtani, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

Rising is slated to play in his first contest since the 2023 Rose Bowl Game on Aug. 29, when Utah hosts Southern Utah, and after the devastating knee injury, surgery and rehab, there are obvious hurdles to clear, like running, cutting and reacting to defenders trying to sack you in live game action.

There’s other aspects of the Rising’s comeback, like the mental side and arm strength, that Rising has tackled head on and has made great strides in this offseason.

“Arm strength, his arm’s coming back,” Whittingham said. “When you have an injury like he had, it affects your confidence and the ability to really step your throw and rip through it. And his arm strength is getting better. He’s shaken pretty much all the rust off. He was a little rusty at the beginning, but through 10 practices, he’s really polished up his game.”

Rising said that he’s been working on throwing ever since he hurt his knee and that everything in the throwing process, including planting, is feeling “really good.”

While he has played with some of his targets, including veteran tight end Brant Kuithe and Money Parks, there’s a new slate of receivers Rising hasn’t thrown to yet in a game — King, Mycah Pittman and Dorian Singer.

Rising worked with the newcomers this offseason and have built on that in the spring.

“They worked hard all winter together on their own with the timing of the routes and just working against the defense a little bit. And that really has paid off,” Whittingham said.

It’s Rising’s last go-around in college and he’s trying to enjoy every moment, from winter workouts to spring practices to fall camp and then, finally, his return to Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“It feels crazy. I think I only got five (spring) practices left, which is unreal. Just going to really relish the moment and just enjoy it with my teammates,” Rising said.