Some big—and surprising—news came out of Baton Rouge on Monday as the LSU Tigers opened fall camp. Head coach Ed Orgeron announced LSU’s top recruit, five-star safety JaCoby Stevens, was moving to wide receiver this fall.
Jacoby Stevens is moving to offense, Orgeron says. He'll be playing receiver. Came in as a safety. #LSU— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 1, 2017
This was a shocker as Stevens was considered the nation’s top safety recruit in 2017. A 6’2”, 216-pound two-way star for Oakland High in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Stevens was slated to play safety for the Tigers. LSU’s longstanding tradition of putting some of the nation’s top defensive backs into the NFL originally played a big part in Stevens committing to the Tigers.
To be fair to Orgeron and the Tigers, Stevens also happened to be a terrific receiver in high school. The Tigers have struggled offensively for years and moving Stevens over to that side of the ball could pay dividends immediately. LSU did lose its top two receivers from a year ago in Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural.
LSU also happens to have some depth in the secondary this fall despite losing All-American safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Tre’Davious White. Senior Ed Paris is expected to start at strong safety, while a mix of young players and veterans will compete at free safety. So, the more you study this move it makes sense. Orgeron feels this team has a chance to be really good, it just needs more playmakers on offense. Stevens could provide exactly that.
This doesn’t have to be a permanent move. The coaching staff can move Stevens back and forth, or, if some players emerge in fall camp at receiver, Stevens can go back to the defensive side of the ball.
And you never know, perhaps Stevens becomes the next Odell Beckham, Jr. and becomes a full-time receiver.