San Jose State Running Back And Line Backer Enter The Transfer Portal

Less than 24 hours after San Jose State announced Ken Niumatalolo will take over for former head coach Brent Brennan who left for Arizona, Spartans’ running back Quali Conley and linebacker Bryun Parham have entered the transfer portal.

After transferring from Utah Tech to SJSU, Conley was integral to the Spartans’ ascension from 1-5 to bowl eligible, rushing for 842 yards, nine touchdowns and wound up ranked second among Mountain West players with 130+ carries in yards per carry (6.4). Keep in mind, Conley was backing up 2023 All-Mountain West First Team honoree Kairee Robinson.

Conley’s portal entry now means SJSU won’t return its starting quarterback, top-two rushers and four of its offensive lineman. Tight end Dominick Mazotti, who was a key piece of SJSU’s run game, transferred to University of Massachusetts last month.

According to 247 Sports’ crystal ball predictions, Conley has a 100% chance of transferring to Arizona. If this happens, it would signify that SJSU associate head coach, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator will join Brennan and former SJSU offensive line coach Josh Oglesby in Tucson.

Parham’s transfer portal announcement, meanwhile, is a massive blow to Niumatalolo’s defense next year.

Dec 20, 2022; Boise, Idaho, USA; San Jose State Spartans linebacker Bryun Parham (6) strips the ball from Eastern Michigan Eagles quarterback Taylor Powell (7) during the second half of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Albertsons Stadium. Eastern Michigan beats San Jose State 41-27. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

In 2023, Parham led SJSU with 106 tackles, had the fifth-most tackles for loss (five), second-most quarterback hits (four) and the most fumble recoveries (two). In 2022 —his first season as a starter — he finished with the second-most tackles (74).

With defensive backs Tre Jenkins, Drew Jenkins, Chase Williams, defensive lineman Noah Lavulo, Jay Kakiva, Matthew Tago graduating, the Spartans will have several holes to fill.

Sandwiched between the news of Conley and Parham, was Brock Purdy’s younger brother, Chubba, decommiting from SJSU and transferring to Mountain West-foe Nevada.

It’s likely SJSU’s roster will undergo more changes as both Brennan and Niumatalolo fill out their staffs.

It’s also worth noting that Niumatalolo won’t be running his patented triple option offense at SJSU this season and, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, “is expected to target an offensive coordinator for some type of wide-open and pass-heavy system.”

Niumatalolo ran the triple option in his 25 years at Navy and in his 15 years as a head coach from 2007-2022, he became the winningest head coach in program history, went to 10 bowl games, and from 2015-19 was a three-time recipient of the American Athletic Conference coach of the year award as the Midshipmen had four AP Top 25 poll finishes.

Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire