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Ephraim Banda will not be the only football coach moving from The Sunshine State to Cache Valley.

Utah State’s new defensive coordinator will be relocating along with Mike Zuckerman, who was officially announced as the Aggies’ new inside linebackers coach on Thursday. Another University of Miami coach, DeMarcus Van Dyke, is expected to be named USU’s cornerbacks coach in the near future.

Zuckerman was at his alma mater for seven years, from 2014-20 — the last two years as a senior quality assistant analyst. He was a quality control analyst for the Hurricanes from 2017-18 and a defensive graduate assistant from 2014-16.

Zuckerman helped coach a Miami defense that has made its mark over the past few years. The Hurricanes led the Atlantic Coast Conference this past season in yards per pass play allowed (6.75), and ranked fourth nationally in tackles for loss (8.6 per game) and 16th in fumbles recovered (nine).

Additionally, the Hurricanes ranked among the top 20 FBS teams in total defense from 2017-19. Miami finished first in sacks per game in 2017 (3.38), third in turnovers gained (31) and fourth in tackles for loss (8.5 pg). The Hurricanes ranked fourth nationally in total defense in 2018 (278.9 ypg).

Prior to his time at Miami, Zuckerman spent one season at Rutgers as a development assistant. Zuckerman started coaching at the collegiate level as a student assistant at Miami from 2010-12. The former New Rochelle (Florida) High School captain first starting coaching in 2008 as a prep assistant at his alma mater.

Zuckerman graduated from Miami with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration and a master’s degree in business administration.

Zuckerman made it a point to thank “every player, coach and staff member over the last seven years at @Canes Football,” in a Thursday post on Twitter. “Miami is my alma mater and I have had an amazing experience here!”

A few minutes later, Zuckerman posted: “With that being said, I couldn’t be more excited to join @CHbanderson and @CoachBanda at Utah State! Let’s get to work!!”

HENELI AVENDANO

It didn’t take long for the former USU offensive lineman to find a new home. One week after announcing he had entered the transfer portal, Avendano committed to Oregon State. Avendano posted his decision Thursday on Twitter.

“Excited for this new chapter, time to work,” Avendano posted.

The former Jordan High star missed this past season with a knee injury. Avendano, who has three years of eligibility remaining, played in all 13 games for the Aggies and made four starts during the 2019 campaign.

Avendano is the third former Aggie since the 2020 season ended to get picked up by a Power 5 conference program. Running back Jaylen Warren has already signed with Oklahoma State, while linebacker Eric Munoz has inked with Kansas State.

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

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