The first time east of Pittsburgh, came this fall when Liston enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia to get his grades in order.
Committing to Rutgers solely based on his relationship with linebackers coach Dave Cohen, the three-star linebacker needed improved grades and a higher test score to qualify academically. Focused in the class room, Liston has the grades and took the ACT last week with hopes of raising his score one more point to ensure his spring enrollment at Rutgers.
"I worked the hardest I ever have and I'm so close right now," Liston said. "I have to come back to take finals. I'll be there until about Jan. 18 and as soon as I leave Hargrave, my parents are going to pick me up and drive me straight to Rutgers without ever going home."
Liston cancelled a summer unofficial visit to Rutgers (when he intended to commit) for academic purposes and had to do the same last week to take the ACTs. With the work done, however, Liston gets his first glimpse of Rutgers when he arrives Friday.
"I'm like a little kid on Christmas," Liston said. "I'm counting down the days until Friday. I'm just happy to [move on] from Hardgrave and finally see where I'm going to be for the next four years. I'm excited, I'm really excited."
Liston is excited for a face-to-face with head coach Kyle Flood, who recently won a share of the Big East Coach of the Year Award. He expects a warm greeting during his first trip to the Garden State.
"I'm hoping to see a good environment, somewhere kind of nice," Liston said. "I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and to see how everybody is around there. I'm looking forward to actually sitting down with coach Flood and seeing how he is as a person and asking him about the team. I'm just looking forward to a good time."
Playing at Hargrave and focused on academics, Liston watch multiple Rutgers games and has been keeping close tabs on the program since committing. When Rutgers offered, Liston's knowledge of the program did not extend far beyond Ray Rice.
"It's been fun," Liston said. "The uniforms, I'm going to be honest I love them. I personally think I'm going to look good doing my thing in the red ones. I just feel like we're so close to being unstoppable.
"We're going into the Big Ten, so I'm really excited about that. Hopefully, I get in there and win a starting job. Going four years to make that defense a stone wall is my mindset. I know I'm young and I have younger players in front of me, but I'm watching guys like Manti Te'o and Khaseem Greene do it and I want that to be me."