Over the past three weeks, a pair of Utah State offensive linemen have not entered the transfer portal, but also committed to other FBS programs.
Fortunately for the Aggies, they’ve been able to offset those losses by getting verbal commitments from two offensive linemen in the transfer portal. On Jan. 12, Liberty graduate transfer Maisen Knight pledged his commitment to USU, and five days later TCU transfer Quazzel White followed suit.
Knight, who is from Salt Lake City, has one year of eligibility remaining, while White has two.
“Family was a big factor,” Knight told the Herald Journal when asked why he ultimately picked USU. “It is my last season and I wanted them to see me play. It is easier for them to travel to my games being a couple hours away now. I also like the movement that (new head) coach (Blake) Anderson is bringing to Utah State.”
Indeed, Anderson, the former Arkansas State head coach, left a positive impression on Knight and made it an easy decision for the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder to return to the Beehive State.
“Coach Anderson has an impressive coaching resume and it is easy to get behind a guy who is a natural leader,” Knight said. “I always had interest in Utah State growing up.”
In fact, Knight was on Utah State’s radar in high school and as player at Ventura College. He was recruited by then-Aggie O-line coach Mark Weber as a Judge Memorial athlete and by then-Aggie OL coach Steve Farmer while in junior college.
“Coach Farmer took me on an unofficial visit when I was at Ventura College,” Knight said.
Knight helped propel Judge Memorial to a pair of 3A state championships and was a first-team all-state selection as a senior. He played before Ventura College in 2016 and 2018 and was an all-conference honoree both years for the Pirates, who went 19-5 during those two seasons.
Knight also signed with Pac-12 Conference program Arizona in 2017 before ultimately transferring back to Ventura. The 3-star recruit in high school and junior college had scholarship offers from several Group of 5 programs as a sophomore at Ventura before ultimately choosing Liberty.
In his two seasons for the Flames, Knight played in 14 games, including all 11 this past fall. Knight suffered a shoulder injury in 2019, but said he is 100 percent healthy now.
Liberty went 10-1 in 2020 and capped off its season by outlasting then-unbeaten Coastal Carolina 37-34 in overtime in the Cure Bowl. The Flames, whose only loss was a 15-14 heartbreaker to North Carolina State, finished 17th in the AP Poll and 18th in the Coaches Poll.
“That Liberty team was special to be a part of. I had some great teammates that became family members,” said the versatile Knight, who has played offensive tackle and guard on both sides of the ball during this collegiate career. “I made many memories that I will remember for a lifetime. That season will be unforgettable.”
Knight is enrolled this semester — he flew into Utah on Tuesday — and will be a part of spring camp. Knight graduated from Liberty with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies “that is focused in marketing and business.” He is now pursuing a master’s degree in sports management.
Meanwhile, USU will be White’s second college as he spent his first three-plus seasons at TCU. The Tacoma, Washington, native redshirted in 2017, played in six games in 2018, played in all 12 games in 2019 and started three two at right guard and one a left tackle and played in the first three games this past season before getting injured against Kansas State. White started two of those contests.
The former Lincoln High star elected to enter the transfer portal at the beginning of December and announced Sunday on Twitter that USU was his landing spot.
White is already familiar with teams from the Mountain West as he was offered scholarships as a prep standout by San Diego State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii and San Jose State. The 6-3, 317-pounder was once a Washington State commit before flipping to TCU. The 3-star recruit was the top-ranked offensive guard in Washington in his graduating class per 247sports.
White, who didn’t commit a single penalty his senior year in high school according to a story that ran in The News Tribune, is the fourth transfer from a Power 5 conference program to commit to the Aggies this month. The others are linebacker/defensive end Byron Hobbs-Vaughn (Texas), LB/DE Patrick Joyner (Miami) and cornerback Kyle Mayberry (Kansas).
Knight and White will offset the loses of former USU o-linemen Heneli Avendano and Karter Shaw, who are transferring to Oregon State and Minnesota, respectively.
For the second time in as many weeks, a former USU coach has been hired by Boise State. Stacy Collins, who coached the Aggies in various capacities from 2016-20, has been named the Broncos’ special teams coordinator and EDGE (outside pass rushers) coach.
Last week, Frank Maile, who was USU’s interim head coach for the final three games this past fall, was hired as Boise State’s associate head coach/defensive line coach. Maile and Collins served as Utah State’s co-defensive coordinators in 2020.
Collins was well known at USU for his ability to recruit, especially in the Pacific Northwest.