AUBURN, Ala. — Former junior college quarterback-turned-wide receiver Jason Smith is making one more move for Auburn football.
Smith, who has started twice at receiver at Auburn during his two seasons with the program, is now a defensive back. Smith has changed his number from No. 4 to No. 25, as junior Buck defensive end Jeff Holland is already a No. 4 on the defensive side of the ball.
“That’s a move that he’s been really wanting to do, even during the summer,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said Monday evening. “It gives us depth at the safety position. He’s a guy that will understand offenses, and I really think he can come in there and do a solid job in that area.”
The Mobile, Ala., native only had four receptions in 2016 and didn’t make a catch until late October. He had fallen down the depth chart at Auburn on offense after the arrival of several highly touted underclassmen receivers, including Kyle Davis, Eli Stove, Darius Slayton and Nate Craig-Myers.
Smith should help the lack of depth the Tigers currently have at safety behind seniors Tray Matthews, Stephen Roberts and Nick Ruffin. He worked as the Tigers’ fourth safety in drills on Monday. The only other scholarship safeties behind the trio are true freshmen.
“He talked to some of our defensive coaches during the summer and he was actually doing some defensive drills, I heard, with Tray Matthews and all that,” Malzahn said. “That’s an area in safety that we can use a little bit more depth. He’s a veteran guy. He understands offenses, and he’s old enough and mature enough that I think he will come in there and really help that group.”
The former 3-star athlete was a three-sport star at McGill-Toolen in Mobile, participating in football, baseball and track. He threw for more than 1,500 yards and scored 18 touchdowns as a quarterback at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2014.