So now it gets MORE interesting! Instead of trying to boot from my install USB drive, I tried to boot from my Sierra install using the -v boot flag. The boot got MUCH further along before freezing that the USB drive did! Attached is the screen shot of where the fail happens...not sure what to do next. Note: My boot SSD has not had the EFI partition modified at all - the original Aptio file is present.
This could be an issue – a Serial Port.... if you have it enabled in bios disable it.