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The past three days have been fruitful for Utah State’s football program as far as recruiting is concerned.

Two days after securing a commitment from former Fresno State standout linebacker Justin Rice, another transfer pledged his commitment to the Aggies. Former University of Miami linebacker/defensive end Patrick Joyner Jr. announced his decision Monday on Twitter.

Joyner Jr. spent the past three seasons with the Hurricanes, where he saw limited time as a reserve defensive end in four games this past fall as a redshirt sophomore. He made one tackle against Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl.

The native of Homestead, Florida, was limited to one game while recovering from offseason surgery a year ago, and made five tackles, including 2.0 for a loss, in four games as a true freshman in 2018.

Joyner Jr., who entered the transfer portal last week, was a four-star recruit by and a three-star recruit by 247sports coming out of South Dade (Florida) High School. He received several scholarship offers from Power 5 conference programs, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Auburn.

Joyner Jr. originally committed to Florida State when he was in high school, but decommitted when then-FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher left for the same position at Texas A&M. As a senior at South Dade, Joyner Jr. contributed with 87 tackles and two forced fumbles. As a prep junior at Keys Gate, Joyner Jr. finished with 63 tackles and 15 sacks.

Joyner Jr. is the third transfer from a Power 5 program to commit to the Aggies in the past 10 days. The others are Kansas graduate transfer cornerback Kyle Mayberry and Texas transfer linebacker/defensive end Byron Hobbs-Vaughns.

Rice was selected as the 2020 Mountain West Preseason Defensive of the Player, but elected to make the move to Arkansas State as a graduate transfer after the MW originally postponed all of its fall sports. In his lone season with the Red Wolves, Rice led all FBS players in tackles for loss (18.5) and tied for fourth nationally in solo tackles (57) en route to garnering first-team all-Sun Belt Conference honors. Rice also tallied 76 total tackles and 7.0 sacks, which tied for 17th nationally, during the ’20 campaign.

The Modesto, California, native received first-team all-MW accolades as a redshirt junior at FSU in 2019. He led the Bulldogs in tackles (112) and forced fumbles (four), and tied for fourth place nationally in the later category. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder also contributed with 8.0 TFLs, 3.0 sacks and two interceptions that season.

Rice was limited by an injury and only played in four contests for the Bulldogs in 2018. He moved to the defensive side of the ball prior to the 2017 campaign and ended up recording nine tackles that season.

Rice was a running back for Fresno State as a true freshman in 2016. He gained 11 yards on nine carries that fall, plus caught two passes for 15 yards.

Prior to his time at FSU, Rice was a record-setting tailback at Central Catholic (California) High School. He rushed for a school record 2,698 yards as a senior and accumulated 2,146 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards as a junior. Rice rushed for 62 touchdowns during his final two seasons with the Raiders.

“I’m baackkkk!! @MountainWest,” Rice posted Saturday on Twitter. “Let’s get to work. @USUFootball. #AggiesAllTheWay.”

Rice is eligible to play in the 2021 season for the Aggies. It is not yet known whether Joyner Jr., who has three years of eligibility remaining, has the same option.

Also on Monday two-year USU starting offensive lineman Karter Shaw officially announced he has entered the transfer portal. The redshirt sophomore started all 13 games for the Aggies a year ago and six games in 2020.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to play at Utah State, thank you to all of the teammates and coach that made it possible to be where I’m at today,” Shaw posted on Twitter. “With that being said, I’d like to announce I am officially in the transfer portal.”

Shaw is the second USU O-linemen to enter the portal within the past two weeks. The other is Heneli Avendano, who has already verbally committed to Oregon State.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at or 435-792-7237.

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