BATON ROUGE, La. — The JaCoby Stevens Offensive Experiment is over, LSU coach Ed Orgeron confirmed Wednesday morning.
Stevens, who had been playing wide receiver and F-back, requested to move back to his original position of safety. Orgeron acquiesqued to the freshman this week.
“He said ‘I feel more comfortable moving back to safety,'” Orgeron said. “He wanted more action.”
The action was definitely lacking for Stevens on offense. He only got onto the field in three games and had two catches for 32 yards.
His impact on defense could be more immediate.
The Tigers have already lost senior safety Ed Paris for the year. His absence left redshirt freshman Eric Monroe listed as the backup at both free and strong safety. Another player capable of playing the position, nickel back Xavier Lewis, was listed as “questionable” by Orgeron on Wednesday.
Stevens was the top-rated safety in the country as a high school senior, though he was a standout on both sides of the ball at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He enrolled early at LSU and played safety this spring. It was not until the opening of August camp that Stevens was switched to wide receiver.
“I watched him play in high school. We don’t have a lot of receivers. I thought he could fit several positions on offense, which he did,” Orgeron said. “He just felt more comfortable at safety.”
Both physically and mentally, there are not many freshman who are cut out to do what has been asked of Stevens in his first year. On top of simply acclimating to college life in general, this marks the fourth time his position has changed since stepping on campus. Safety, wide receiver, F-back and back to safety again.
“He’s a great team player,” Orgeron said. “A great young man. I respect him.”
And, finally, a safety for now and presumably forevermore.
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