JaCoby Stevens’ move back to defense was his own doing, and coach Ed Orgeron believes it to be permanent, he said Wednesday.
Stevens, LSU’s highly touted freshman, has returned to the position for which he signed with the Tigers: safety. It’s the player’s third position move since preseason camp began: safety-to-receiver, receiver-to-F back and F back-to-safety.
It looks to be the last.
“He did try (offense) and did well,” Orgeron said Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference teleconference. “He said, ‘Coach, I feel more comfortable in my career moving back to safety.’ I think it’s going to be a permanent move. Obviously, we’re going to give him that option. He practice at safety yesterday and did very well.”
Reporters have observed Stevens practicing with the defensive backs Monday and Tuesday, and his father confirmed to The Advocate his son’s move back to defense.
“We are all excited,” said Jeremy Stevens in a text.
The meetings in LSU’s football operations facility Monday were not limited to players only.
JaCoby signed with the Tigers as one of the best safety prospects in the nation, even rated as the top-ranked safety recruit by one recruiting service. He participated in spring practice as a safety, but fellow freshman and mid-year enrollee Grant Delpit seemed to surpass him in the pecking order.
Coaches approached Stevens in May about a potential move to receiver, a position with limited depth and experience. They officially moved him to offense during Day 2 of camp and shifted him last week to the Tigers’ F-back, a hybrid role that fullbacks, tight ends and receivers play.
As a receiver, Stevens caught just one pass, a 27-yarder against UT-Chattanooga. As an F-back against Troy, he took a shovel pass 5 yards. His move appears to be for playing time, according to Orgeron's comments.
Also, the Tigers have lost at least one rotational safety, Ed Paris, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. Another rotational defensive back, hybrid safety/nickelback Xavier Lewis, has missed the past two practices and is listed as “questionable,” Orgeron said.
“He just felt more comfortable moving back to safety,” the coach said. “Sometimes receivers don’t catch the ball every time. As a safety, you can be involved in most plays, wanted more action, which is good for him. Great team player, great young man. I respect him.”
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