USF’s quarterback derby thins out after one position change

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Matt Baker, Tampa Bay Times
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USF’s quarterback derby grew a little less contested on the first day of spring practice. Bulls coach Jeff Scott said Tuesday that second-year player Jordan Smith has moved from quarterback to safety.

“It was not a situation where we didn’t think he could play quarterback,” Scott said in a Zoom session with reporters. “It was a situation where we felt like he could have an earlier impact as of this year playing in the secondary.”

Smith passed for 68 touchdowns and more than 6,000 yards over his final three years at Lake City’s Columbia High. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Tampa native appeared in one game (Notre Dame) last season as a true freshman.

But the three-star recruit also has the speed and change-of-direction ability that made him one of the top pure athletes in USF’s 2020 signing class.

Scott said he didn’t force the position change upon Smith. He merely explained that some of the best receivers or defensive backs he has coached were converted high school quarterbacks. After one practice, Scott likes what he sees as Smith learns the position.

“He is an explosive, explosive athlete,” Scott said. “I believe he has the potential to play at the next level at the safety position if he’ll continue to learn and work at it just because of his athleticism and speed.”

USF has only one other position change to report: senior Fredrick Lloyd has moved from tight end to receiver. Scott called him a hybrid player between the two positions, anyway, but the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Georgia native will now focus on working outside.