Feb 5, 2014; Long Beach, CA, USA; Long Beach Polytechnic high school senior safety John "Juju" Smith signs with the University of Southern California at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Sarkisian Tells ESPNU John "Juju" Smith Will Start Out On Offense For USC

Steve Sarkisian jumped on the phone with ESPNU shortly after USC closed up the 2014 recruiting class with the commitment of John “Juju” Smith (Long Beach, Calif/Long Beach Poly) and revealed that the Trojans plan to play use Smith on offense.

“We’re going to start him out on the offensive side of the football,” Sarkisian said of his new safety commit, whose skill with the ball has convinced USC coaches that he can make an immediate impact as a wide receiver.

Smith is the nation’s second-rated safety according to Rivals, however, he has always been projected as a potential playmaker on offense. The same goes for five-star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, who also committed to the Trojans today but could also start his college career on offense.

Sarkisian didn’t remove the possibility that Smith might ultimately end up on defense after all: “There are going to be times and opportunities for him to see time on the other side of the ball as well.”

The Trojan head coach revealed that USC specifically targeted players who could play on both sides of the ball to help combat depth issues. The more players USC has with that kind of versatility, the more equipped they will be to handle injuries wherever they crop up.


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Tags: Football John "Juju" Smith USC Trojans

  • Ben Factor

    In theory, it sounds great to switch to where you’re needed. In practice, I have my doubts.

    I expect Shaw to want to play safety in 2014, to showcase himself for the NFL Draft at his natural safety position. I think that Jackson’s commitment will permit Shaw to move. Between Seymour, Jackson, Hawkins, and others, CB should be somewhat OK.

    If Shaw is at safety, things will be pretty crowded there. Assuming that Smith likes WR, and is 5-star at that as well, it makes sense for him play WR in 2014. It’s foolish not to get your best players on the field.

    Now, what happens if Jackson wants to focus on offense? Things might change. Obviously, he’s very fast and a good leaper, and some scouts think he is one of the two best athletes in the national 2014 class.

    I guess these are good problems.