For Utes Cam Rising quarterback, Utah’s trip to the Rose Bowl is about a promise he made to Ty Jordan


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Red confetti dancing in the air. University of Utah football players and coaches wear Pac-12 championship t-shirts and caps. They bit the rose branch and celebrated the landmark achievement of the show.

And in those moments of extreme outbursts, somewhere in his mind, Utah’s Cam Rising midfielder’s thoughts turned to his former teammate. He knew he had kept his promise to the late Ty Jordan over two years ago.

The Utes family went to their first Rose Bowl.

“That’s what he wants and that’s why I love him,” Rising said this week. “Everything we’ve talked about so far has come true.”

Rising fulfilled that promise to Jordan when the two young men first met.

When Jordan walked into Rising’s Salt Lake City apartment on November 29, 2019, he made a verbal commitment to the University of Texas for two and a half months.

Despite the verbal commitment, Jordan’s lead recruiter at the University of Utah, supporting coach Kiel McDonald, persevered as the early signing period approached on December 18. Jordan’s mother, Tiffany , was brought to the point by McDonald’s and the Utes football program where she asked her son to at least visit.

In retrospect, Rising was a smart choice to host Jordan the night before Utah beat Colorado at Rice-Eccles Stadium to win the Pac-12 South. Jordan is a Texan kid from the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, starring at West Mesquite High School, committed to the state’s premier show of football fanaticism. Rising spent his freshman season in Texas before moving to Utah, so there is at least one connection between him and Jordan, who just turned 18.

“He came in and we just talked about football and what we wanted to achieve,” Rising told The Salt Lake Tribune after Monday’s training session. “We’re really focused on what we want to accomplish, what we want to do together.”

As of November 2019, Jordan is still in high school and Rising is sitting out a year of boarding after moving from Texas. Rising is still a year away from getting his first hit as Ute, but this conversation with Jordan nonetheless includes visions of greatness.

The two moved on to talk about won the Pac-12 and gave Utah its first Rose Bowl landing. Rising and Jordan agree that is the main goal, both feeling strongly about the possibility of bringing the program to the summit for the first time.

As the evening ended, Rising and Jordan promised each other that they would go to a Rose Bowl.

“As soon as I said that, he said, ‘Come on, I’m ready for this,’” Rising recalls. “He said beyond his years, you can’t say that he was a high school kid already a top level player. He’s humble and you know he’s a special person. He bonded with everyone that night, he just spoke and presented himself on a higher level than the others.

“He knows what he wants to accomplish, he knows what he wants to do and he is on a mission to make it happen.”

Jordan committed to Utah on December 10, signing the National Letter of Intent on December 18. In a 5-game season shortened by COVID, he was a force of nature, dashing away. 597 yards and six touchdowns with just 83 attempts. All six touchdowns came in Utah’s final three games, all won, as Jordan dashed 468 yards on the way to the title of Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.

Early morning of December 26, 2020, Nicko Rising received a phone call Jordan died the night before near his home in Denton, Texas, victim of an accidental, self-inflicted wound. Nicko walked into his youngest son’s bedroom, woke him up, and delivered the news.

The shock of that is understandable, but as the 1-year anniversary of Jordan’s death approaches, it still takes Rising a beat or two to recoil when it comes to Jordan.

Rising says he texted Jordan on Christmas Day. He tells him he loves him and he can’t wait to continue honing what they always thought was the road to Pasadena.

Jordan did not respond to Rising’s messages.

“It’s not real and then you go on Twitter, you start seeing it, it hurts,” Rising said. “It really hurt, and it still bothers me to this day. Is crazy.”

Rising’s grief for Jordan, and the grief of his teammates and coaches, has been compounded this fall following the death of Jordan’s best friend, high school and college teammate. Aaron Lowe on September 26. Lowe took over Jordan’s number 22 spot as the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship.

Jordan and Lowe’s lives have been celebrated throughout this season, whether it’s at Rice-Eccles Stadium or on the road. There were moments of silence,”noisy moment, “Flowers left at the 22-yard line by an opponent during pregnancy shooting, and No. 22 is retired. Meanwhile, the hashtags # #LLTJ, #LLAL and the like have become the rallying cry of the entire fan base as Utah spends October and November marching to the championship. third South Division champion in as many COVID-free seasons.

As for Rising and the Utes, much of this season has kept those legacies alive.

“It’s nice to know he’s still here in a different way,” Rising said, “still helping us.”

Personally, Rising can’t leave this season thinking he’s done anything different. No matter what happens on January 1 with Ohio State, he keeps his promise to Jordan. For Utes Cam Rising quarterback, Utah’s trip to the Rose Bowl is about a promise he made to Ty Jordan

Beth Allcock

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