College Football

College Football Players Who Should Make Position Changes This Offseason

Sebastian LenaAnalyst IJanuary 27, 2014

College Football Players Who Should Make Position Changes This Offseason

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    Jack has proven he can perform on both sides of the ball.
    Jack has proven he can perform on both sides of the ball.Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Sometimes, a simple position change is all that is necessary for a college football player to take it to the next level.

    For some, the move from quarterback to receiver could be in their best interest. Meanwhile, others would be well suited with more offensive snaps aside from their duties on the defensive side of the ball.

    All in all, there are several players who have abilities that have yet to be untapped.

    Here are seven players who could tap into those resources with a position change in the fall.

Trevone Boykin (TCU)

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    Boykin (2) could make a bigger impact for TCU as a WR.
    Boykin (2) could make a bigger impact for TCU as a WR.David Purdy/Getty Images

    Current Position: QB

    Proposed Position: WR

     

    Why He Should Make the Switch

    With an injury causing starting quarterback Casey Pachall to miss significant time in 2013, sophomore Trevone Boykin stepped in as a replacement.

    In six starts, the Mesquite, Texas native didn’t fair too well. He threw for just 1,198 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions on 59.7 percent passing.

    Pachall’s graduation leaves Boykin as the only quarterback on the Horned Frogs’ depth chart with any experience. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the team’s best fit under center.

    In fact, Boykin would actually be more of an asset at wide receiver.

    Last season, he finished with 26 catches for 204 yards. Boykin especially showcased his ability against West Virginia, hauling in 11 catches for 100 yards.

    Throw in his rushing ability—313 yards and seven touchdowns—and Boykins is definitely a player you would prefer in open space.

Tony Brown (Alabama)

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    Current Position: CB

    Proposed Position: S

     

    Why He Should Make the Switch

    The highlight tape of the Crimson Tide 5-star cornerback commit Tony Brown is as impressive as his hairstyles.

    But don’t be surprised if you see the team utilize his ability at safety.

    At 6’0” and 188 pounds, Brown has all the makings of a top-notch safety. He can cover slot receivers without a problem while using his explosive transition speed to blitz and chase running backs.

    Given that Alabama recently lost star safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the NFL draft, per Al.com's Andrew Gribble, adding Brown is a great consolation prize for head coach Nick Saban and Co.

    Expect the Beaumont, Texas native to have an immediate impact for the Tide in 2014.

Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)

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    Could we see more of Nkemdiche (left) carrying the ball?
    Could we see more of Nkemdiche (left) carrying the ball?Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Position: DE

    Proposed Position: Goal-line RB

     

    Why He Should Make the Switch

    Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche is fresh off an impressive freshman campaign for the Rebels—one that saw him record 34 tackles (8.0 for loss) and 2.0 sacks.

    With that said, it would be foolish for the Rebels to remove the top-ranked prospect of the Class of 2013 off of the defensive line.

    However, it could actually prove beneficial to give the big man some goal-line carries.

    In the regular-season finale against Mississippi State in 2013, Ole Miss turned to Nkemdiche in the short-yard running game. He rushed for 21 yards on four carries.

    It’s not like Nkemdiche doesn’t have a history at the position. During his junior year of high school, he actually rushed for 500 yards.

    At 6’4” and 297 pounds, who would honestly be able to stop the guy in short-yard situations?

     

Blake Bell (Oklahoma)

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    Could Bell be making a position change next season?
    Could Bell be making a position change next season?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Current Position: QB

    Proposed Position: TE

     

    Why He Should Make the Switch

    Blake Bell was unable to win the Sooners starting quarterback position last spring. And given expected starter Trevor Knight’s stellar performance in the Sugar Bowl, chances are slim that Bell’s prospects will be any better this time around.

    But that shouldn’t mean it’s time to call it quits for the soon-to-be senior.

    “We’ll make a home for Blake one way or another,” head coach Bob Stoops said following Oklahoma’s victory in the Sugar Bowl, via The Norman Transcript’s John Shinn. “I hope he doesn’t want to transfer because he can play a lot of different ways. We’ll find out with him and if this is the course we go on how we can make that work for him.”

    That likely change could be at tight end, where Bell actually was rumored to have been taking snaps at prior to the 2012 season. At 6’6” and 263 pounds, he certainly has the frame to prosper at the position.

    Given the spark Bell has given the Sooners over the years, it would be great to instill the Wichita, Kan. native  in any way possible.

Adoree' Jackson (Uncommitted)

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    Current Position: CB

    Proposed Position: WR

     

    Why He Should Make the Switch

    Adoree’ Jackson is currently the highest-rated prospect that is still uncommitted at this point.

    A 5-star cornerback, the hype around the Gardena, Calif. native is understandable. Jackson is definitely one of the most versatile players in the Class of 2014.

    Likewise, instead of his listed position of cornerback, whoever picks up Jackson’s commitment should use him as a wide receiver.

    When you have a player like Jackson on your roster, it’s important to get the ball into his hands as much as possible. Given his speed and leaping ability—Jackson is a state champion at long jump—receiver is a perfect fit.

    While there’s no doubt that Jackson could step in as a collegiate-level corner and shut down opposing receivers, it’s hard not to think of it as a waste not to include his athletic ability on the offensive side of the ball.

Devin Gardner (Michigan)

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    Could we see the return of Gardner (98) as a receiver?
    Could we see the return of Gardner (98) as a receiver?Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Current Position: QB

    Proposed Position: WR

     

    Why He Should Make the Switch

    This is a rather controversial topic around the Wolverines fanbase.

    Just last week, I delved further into the reasoning of why a positional change might be the best route to go with current quarterback Devin Gardner. It’s a move that might momentarily set the program back, but it will pay dividends in the long run.

    With the hiring of offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, it’s no secret that the Michigan offense is bound for some major changes.

    So why begin the new era with soon-to-be sophomore Shane Morris—the prototypical pro-style quarterback—instead of Gardner, who is set to be a senior?

    Not only would it allow the Wolverines to make the most out of Morris’ remaining three years of eligibility, but it would also allow the team to make the most out of Gardner’s athletic abilities. He actually played some games at wide receiver back in 2012.

    In eight games, Gardner caught 16 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns. Through that span, he ranked second in yards and led the team in scores.

    At 6’4”, Gardner has the frame and the speed to blow by defenders.

Myles Jack (UCLA)

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    Current Position: LB

    Proposed Position: RB

     

    Why He Should Make the Switch

    The Bruins found a game-changer on defense in freshman linebacker Myles Jack.

    In 13 games last season, the Bellevue, Wash. native recorded 76 tackles (7.0 for loss), 1.0 sack, one forced fumble, blocked one kick and intercepted two passes. He also returned one interception back for a touchdown.

    But more impressively, Jack also starred at running back, rushing for 267 yards and seven touchdowns on 38 carries.

    For his efforts, Jack won the awards for both the Pac-12 Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year.

    The move to running back was largely due to the fact that UCLA starter Jordon James missed significant time due to injury. He missed six games last year.

    James will likely get first shot at the starting spot in 2014. However, given his performance in relief, Jack at least deserves an opportunity to compete with James.

    More time at running back—along with his defensive duties—could be just what Jack needs to jumpstart his 2014 Heisman Trophy candidacy.

     

    All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com.

    For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on FacebookTwitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

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