Utah starting quarterback Charlie Brewer has left the football program, as first reported by Joshua Newman of The Salt Lake Tribune and confirmed by Head Coach Kyle Whittingham in a statement.
"Charlie has decided to move on, and we wish him the best," Whittingham said in the statement Tuesday.
Brewer started the first three games of the season for the Utes after spending four years as the starting quarterback at Baylor. Since leading the Utes to a season-opening win over Weber State, the passing offense with Brewer has struggled to put up points in back-to-back losses to BYU and San Diego State.
The Utes benched Brewer in the third quarter of Saturday's loss to San Diego State after he went 14-of-26 for 104 yards and an interception. Sophomore Cameron Rising, who was named the starting quarterback on the updated depth chart on Tuesday, led the Utes back from a 24-10 deficit and forced overtime.
Rising threw three touchdown passes against no interceptions on Saturday, but the Utes would go on to fall in three overtimes 33-31 to slump to 1-2 this season.
Through three games, Brewer went 48-of-79 (60.8%), throwing for 484 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
In his four years at Baylor, Brewer threw for 9,700 yards (second all-time in program history) and 65 touchdowns (second all-time). He helped turned around a program that went 1-11 in his freshman year in 2017 to 11-1 in the regular season in 2019, leading the Bears to the Big 12 title game and the Sugar Bowl.
Newman also reported that Brewer's name is not in the transfer portal, but he would have one more year of eligibility if he opts to use a redshirt for this year.
Utah also has three freshman quarterbacks on the roster: Bryson Barnes, Peter Costelli, and Texas transfer Ja'Quinden Jackson. Whittingham said just before the season that Costelli would be a redshirt candidate and that Barnes would be the third-string quarterback behind Brewer and Rising.
However, Jackson was listed as Rising's backup on the week four depth chart ahead of the Utes' game against Washington State.
Rising saw some snaps in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, beginning the year as the Utes' starter in the opener against USC, but was replaced by Jake Bentley after an injury. Rising went 3-of-6 for 45 yards with an interception and a lost fumble before Bentley took over.
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The first year without longtime starter Tyler Huntley was a struggle at quarterback, as Bentley was inconsistent all season long. Drew Lisk also got some reps after Bentley was benched in the finale against Washington State.
The battle for the starting quarterback spot seemed to be solved when Brewer transferred to Utah, but now the question remains unanswered after his sudden departure.
Oregon will face Utah in Salt Lake City on Nov. 20 in a game that could be massive for the Ducks' race for a College Football Playoff spot and the Utes' hunt for a Pac-12 title. Seeing as how the Pac-12 South is wide open, Rising could potentially turn the Utes' season around and help them face the Ducks twice in 2021.
The Ducks haven't won at Rice-Eccles Stadium since 2016, but they have bragging rights over the Utes due to the 37-15 thrashing in the 2019 Pac-12 Championship Game.
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