Freshman DT Jackson shifts to offensive line
Adding one more name to a wide-open battle for starting offensive line positions, freshman defensive tackle Jatavious Jackson is shifting back to offense this spring.
USF initially recruited Jackson as an offensive lineman, but he spent the fall redshirting while working with the defensive line. With defensive tackle Anthony Hill -- like Jackson, another former Florida State signee -- joining the Bulls this month, the shift allows USF to move talent from a deep position to an area where the Bulls must quickly establish new starters this offseason.
Jackson, listed at 6-foot-4 and 266 pounds on USF's official roster, was originally recruited as a tackle, but could compete for a guard position as well -- he was rated the No. 43 guard in the country by Scout.com as a senior at Glades Central High in Belle Glade. He's the second defensive tackle shifted to the offensive line this month, joining sophomore Sampson Genus, who will compete for the starting center job.
-- One more position switch to report: Freshman walk-on Joel Miller, a running back from Wharton who emerged as a special-teams standout last fall, is moving to defensive back. Miller, who had seven tackles on special teams, will continue to make his contributions on that unit. And as expected, speedy junior Aston Samuels, the former running back who missed the 2008 season recovering from a severe shoulder injury, will work as a wide receiver this spring.
-- Talked Monday with Jaruez Wynn, the defensive back from Northeast High in St. Petersburg who made an official visit to USF this weekend. Wynn said he enjoyed his visit a lot (hosted by freshman Tyson Butler), spending time with several other Pinellas County recruits in attendance. He does not have an offer yet from USF and said coaches are hesitant because his scores on the ACT entrance exam aren't high enough yet. He's taking the test on Feb. 6 and hopes to raise his numbers. "I'm really hoping later on I can get an offer from them," said Wynn, who will visit Kansas State this weekend and potentially Florida International the following weekend. You'll see his last name spelled "Juarez" (like the city in Mexico across the border from El Paso) but the correct spelling is Jaruez, and he pronounces it JAH-rez.
-- Also spoke with Gerard Atkins, the tight end from Dixie Hollins who has been committed to USF since October. He too enjoyed his visit, hosted by freshman tight end Andreas Shields, and of all the recruits I've talked to in the last few days, was most disappointed to hear that offensive coordinator Greg Gregory wouldn't be back next season. "At first, I thought that's who's always recruited me. If it weren't for him, I don't know that I'd be signing with USF in a few weeks," he said. Atkins said coach Jim Leavitt addressed the issue with him and said USF would not be making significant changes to his offense despite the change in coordinators. He, too, had heard that receivers coach Mike Canales might be promoted to the opening and said he'd be happy with that choice. "I like Coach C a lot," Atkins said.