2021 Utes Fall Camp Preview: Quarterbacks
As the University of Utah opens fall camp, the biggest battle is unquestionably the quarterback position. What is known is that it’s a two quarterback battle. Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer has been revived after his difficult decision to transfer, while initial 2020 starter Cam Rising is ahead of schedule from his season ending injury.
If anyone tells you it’s unquestionably Brewers job, they’d be lying to you. I’ve said it time and time again, the Utah players and coaches see Cam Rising as a transcendent talent. The program has a tough decision to make in the coming weeks, but either quarterback is capable of piling up the wins.
Here’s a breakdown of the battle and also the guys behind them. May the best man win, it’s about to be a fun competition.
The Starting Battle
Cam Rising, Sophomore
6-foot-2 and 220 pounds
Rising was injured at an inopportune time last fall, early in the first quarter of his starting debut. While missing spring ball, he saw veteran transfer Charlie Brewer have a solid camp that got everyone around the country talking.
The program knows what they have in Rising, and while there is no shortage of words of praise, the one constant term used is, “special.” The one question is his health, but numerous sources have told UteNation that he’s ahead of schedule and has already regained his form in the process.
Rising brings dual-threat capabilities with an extremely high football IQ. He’s also a natural leader that everyone gravitates too. His time in 2020 was brief, but his 15 yard sideline throw to Cole Fotheringham is something that stuck in everyone’s mind, making them eager to see him fulfill his potential.
As he’s continued to rehab and build up strength, he’s reportedly throwing the ball 50 yards on a dime and wowing his teammates in the process, during summer workouts.
Charlie Brewer, Senior
6-foot-1 and 208 pounds
Baylor’s loss is Utah’s gain, and Utah is the program happy with the early results. The Baylor Bears went 2-7 overall one year after Matt Rhule left for the NFL and their offensive line was depleted. Even with that, Brewer unfairly took the bulk of the blame. All of this ultimately led to his transfer.
At Baylor, Brewer was a four-year starter and at one point played 30 of 31 games. He was durable, but he also played through some tough injuries. He’s no. 2 all-time at Baylor in passing yards with 9,700. He’s also the second player in Baylor history to go over 10,000 total yards (9,700 passing and 1,039 rushing).
Most importantly with Brewer is that he receives high praise as a team player. He’s a positive and knowledgeable influence in the quarterback room. He also knows that he’ll have to earn the job and that nothing is given to him.
With Rising out during spring ball, Brewer took the first-team reps and dazzled in the change of scenery. It all culminated in a 15-15 passing performance during the spring game. That number got everyone talking, but there were two ways to look at it: he had a knack for throwing his guys open, but he also would have been sacked 5+ times if it was a real game.
Like Rising, Brewer has the full trust and respect of his teammates. While Rising is considered to have the higher ceiling, Brewer’s seasoned experience in some of the biggest games is a big deal.
Ja’Quinden Jackson, Freshman
6-foot-2 and 229 pounds
A lot has been made about his potential and his willingness to switch positions. However, pump the brakes. Jackson is a tantalizing talent who in high school was viewed as a one-read quarterback. When that read wasn’t there, he’d take off and run for big gains. That type of play doesn’t fly at the P5 level, but fortunately Jackson former Ute and now Baltimore Raven Tyler Huntley was once viewed as a one-read and go quarterback. The man that fixed that and unlocked Huntley’s potential? Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.
Currently the Texas transfer has an uphill battle against Rising and Brewer, but he’ll be dangerous the moment he gets good and consistent at trusting and going through his progressions.
Peter Costelli, Freshman
6-foot-3 and 216 pounds
The four-star early-enrollee from the Utes’ 2021 recruiting class didn’t have the benefit of playing fall football, as California shut down all high school sports activities. Despite this, Costelli was constantly on the grind throwing to anyone who would catch a pass from him, including fellow signee Makai Cope. He was also working on his footwork and speed. The 6-foot-3 and 223 pounder is said to be able to run around a 4.4 40. Combine that with a strong arm and his future is intriguing.
Costelli showed flashes of potential in the spring game, but his 2021 season will likely be spent redshirting. However, his future is bright and he needs to soak up as much knowledge as possible from Rising and Brewer. He’s career will be better off for it.
UteNation quarterback opinion
Let the battle begin. This battle doesn’t have an obvious choice. Brewer is seasoned and proven with a high floor, while Rising oozes tantalizing potential with a sky-high ceiling. A lot will depend on how Rising’s shoulder responds through fall camp. From there, they’ll have a helluva decision to make with two guys. This much is certain, the program believes they have a Pac-12 Championship level team with either quarterback.