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Saint Louis grad Higgins will transfer to Hawaii

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Making use of an open return policy, quarterback Jeremy Higgins has secured a release from Utah State and will transfer to the University of Hawaii.

"I’m excited, man," said Higgins, who was named to the all-state second team as a Saint Louis School senior in 2009.

Higgins’ request for a release from his Utah State scholarship was granted Tuesday. He then called the UH coaches, who extended an invitation to join the Warriors this summer.

"When my dad told me he got the release, that was exciting," Higgins said. "I’m going to work hard, harder than I’ve ever worked."

In the summer of 2009, the UH coaches notified Higgins and three other prospects there would be one scholarship reserved for a quarterback for the 2010 recruiting class. Higgins decided to weigh his options, and the scholarship eventually went to Kevin Spain.

Higgins signed with Utah State. As a freshman in 2010, he played in two games, completing four of six passes for 22 yards. He entered this spring training as the No. 1 quarterback.

But Higgins said he felt a greater desire to return to Hawaii, a tug that began when the Warriors played the Aggies in Logan, Utah, last year.

"I felt proud to be from Hawaii," Higgins said of the reunion. "I had a lot of friends on the other side of the field. They played with a lot of passion."

The coaching changes also factored in Higgins’ decision. Soon after Higgins’ oral commitment to Utah State, quarterbacks coach Kevin McGiven accepted the offensive coordinator’s position at Memphis.

Utah State offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin worked with the quarterbacks through training camp before ceding the assignment to graduate assistant Ryan Zimmerman. After the season, Matt Wells was hired as quarterbacks coach.

"There were a lot of changes," Higgins said. "It wasn’t what I committed to. I love the coaches. (Head) coach (Gary) Andersen is a great coach. My teammates are great guys. I respect them. But I needed to go back home."

Shortly before the start of spring training, Higgins said, word got out that he was considering leaving. The coaches asked Higgins to delay a decision until after spring training.

"I told them, ‘No matter what, I’ll work my butt off,’" Higgins said.

After spring training ended, he requested a release.

Because this is the Warriors’ last season in the Western Athletic Conference, Higgins only has to sit out one season. There is a two-year waiting period when transferring between two WAC teams.

Higgins will be allowed to practice, but not play in any games this year. After that, he will have three years to play three seasons.

The Warriors’ top two quarterbacks — Bryant Moniz and Shane Austin — will be seniors this fall. The other UH quarterbacks are David Graves, Cayman Shutter and Corey Nielsen. Justin Alo is a grayshirt who will join the Warriors in January.

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