Utah State offensive lineman Andrew Chen has been playing the guitar longer than he has played football.
The senior from Calabasas, California, has played the instrument since he was a little kid, but he only started playing football his freshman year of high school because of some of his friends.
“They kind of pushed me to play just because I was bigger than everyone,” Chen said. “I gave it a shot, and I loved it from there and that was that.”
During his senior year at Chaminade College Prep in Los Angeles, California, Chen helped lead the team to an 8-2 record and a trip to the semifinals of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoffs. Chen also earned first-team all-CIF honors, first-team all-Mission League honors and was named a first-team All-Star by the Los Angeles Daily Times.
Furthermore, Chen was named Chaminade HS Lineman of the Week 16 times during his high school career, earning the honor nine times as a senior and seven as a junior. As a junior, the Eagles went 9-1 and advanced to the CIF semifinals as Chen earned first-team all-Mission League honors.
Chen was recruited by then-USU offensive line coach T.J. Woods about 10 or 11 games into his senior season of high school. Woods called Chen to make an offer and set up a campus visit.
“I committed on the trip,” Chen said. “I loved everything about my visit, and I wanted to come here and be an Aggie.”
During his junior season in 2016, Chen played two snaps against Weber State and has played sparingly this year.
Despite that, Chen’s experience at Utah State has been great.
“This school and this program have done a lot of great things for me,” Chen said. “I could honestly say that I bleed blue and that I’m an Aggie for life.”
USU offensive line coach Steve Farmer described Chen as a wonderful guy and a hard worker.
“He’s a player that’s been dedicated to Utah State, shows up daily to try and get better and works hard,” Farmer said.
During the summer before his senior season at USU, Chen set a goal in the weight room to bench 405 pounds.
“I accomplished that and had the highest mark on the team, and I was really trying to reach that all summer and that was probably the biggest accomplishment I’ve had,” Chen said. “I worked really hard to get that.”
This season, Chen wants to reach a bowl game.
“I just want to have a winning season and get this program back in a bowl game and win it,” Chen said.
Farmer said he will miss Chen’s personality most.
“He’s fun to have in the room,” Farmer said.
On the guitar, Chen mostly plays acoustic and likes to play rock and roll, classic rock, the blues and country.
“I have a bunch of guitars, including a couple with me in Logan, and sometimes I play for people,” Chen said. “I would say most people don't know that about me.”
When he’s not playing football, Chen likes to hang out with his roommates and play video games.
“There’s a game called Overwatch that I play with my roommates and it’s kind of a bonding experience for us,” Chen said.
Chen, who is majoring in general studies with an emphasis in kinesiology and human services, is set to graduate in December. Though he is still unsure of what he wants to do after Utah State, Chen is leaning toward going into coaching college football.
“I can’t really see myself walking away from the sport, and I have a lot of love and passion for football,” Chen said. “I think I could become a really good coach one day.”
Farmer said whatever he decides, he'll be good at it.
“He’ll be successful at anything he puts his mind at,” Farmer said. “I wish him nothing but the best.”
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.