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Jamie Nance is becoming a difference maker for Utah State

The one-time Nebraska transfer has carved out an important role on special teams for the Aggies

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Utah State’s Jamie Nance (16) is carried off the field by Daniel Grzesiak after recovering a fumbled New Mexico punt, as Stephen Kotsanlee (63) celebrates during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Logan, Utah.

Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal via AP

Jamie Nance is starting to pay off on his potential.

A former Nebraska wide receiver and 3-star recruit coming out of Blanchard, Oklahoma, in 2018, Nance transferred to Utah State in the summer of 2021 as part of the wave of players USU head coach Blake Anderson and his staff brought to Logan in their first year.

While many of those transfers went on to have an immediate impact — think quarterback Logan Bonner, wide receiver Brandon Bowling and linebacker Justin Rice, to name a few — Nance didn’t, at least not nearly as noticeable.

Nance did play in 11 games last season, all on special teams, and finished the year with five tackles, but was not considered among the most impactful transfers to USU.

Fast forward a year and Nance still plays on special teams for the Aggies, only he has now started to become what Utah State hoped he would be.

Now a cornerback, Nance recovered his second fumble in as many games on a muffed punt Saturday in Utah State’s 27-10 win over the New Mexico Lobos (Nance also had a fumble recovery on a muffed punt against Wyoming two weeks ago).

The recovery against the Lobos led to a Utah State field goal and couldn’t have come at a better time, with Utah State only leading New Mexico by only four points midway through the third quarter.

“That came at a big, big time, I thought,” Anderson said. “Great effort play with the punt to create the turnover. ... I thought he was right where he needed to be, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, to me, in terms of how the game was going.”

Nance has always possessed talent — there’s a reason he had scholarship offers from multiple Power 5 programs coming out of high school — and Anderson believes his speed is his greatest attribute.

“He has unbelievable speed,” Anderson said. “That is why he is out there at that particular position. ... Jamie’s speed is elite speed. That is the best thing he brings to the table.”

Now in Year 2 with Utah State, Nance has started to understand how best to play as a gunner, demonstrated best by his play the last two games.

Now his speed is but a part of what makes him valuable to the Aggies.

“He has made mistakes out there along the way, at times, with some early contact,” Anderson said, “but he has gotten better and better. He takes a lot of pride in (playing on special teams). He loves that role and has been impactful.”

More and more so with each passing week.