AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn wide receiver Jason Smith hasn’t been very noticeable through the Tigers’ first six games, but that could change in the second half of the season.
Originally recruited to play quarterback at Auburn before switching to wideout, Smith was seen practicing with the quarterback unit prior to the Mississippi State game. He’s prepared to take over as starter Sean White’s backup, according to offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
“He’s still playing some receiver,” Lashlee said. “He’s comfortable, he played quarterback in high school, obviously we recruited him initially to do that. He kind of gets some reps there, too, in case needed, but he’s just an athlete weapon for us.”
Smith has just 1 rushing carry this year, but has extensive experience at quarterback. In 2014, he led No. 7 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to an 8-2 record, throwing for 1,566 passing yards (18 TDs) and adding 10 rushing touchdowns. As a senior at McGill-Toolen High School in Mobile, Ala., Smith also threw 19 touchdowns (1,566 passing yards) and ran in 16 scores for coach Bart Sessions.
Smith made the transition to wide receiver full time after arriving at Auburn — as his position coach and former Tiger Kodi Burns did — catching 13 passes for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2015.
Lashlee said Smith offers an aspect of versatility to the Auburn offense and has maintained a good attitude despite playing little this year.
In the week leading up to the Tigers’ first road game in Starkville, Miss., with a few other players dealing with minor injuries, coach Gus Malzahn mentioned Smith had taken reps as a kick returner as well.
During preseason camp, Smith voiced frustration regarding his experience at several spots on offense, but said he was prepared to help his team in any way possible.
“I see myself as a leader,” Smith said in August. “I believe everybody has a leadership role no matter the year. Everybody has a voice.”