Switching Sides

One of the more intriguing aspects in world of college football recruiting is the ability to identify a player that plays on one of side of the ball and realize that he may in fact be better suited somewhere else.

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One of the more intriguing aspects in world of college football recruiting is the ability to identify a player that plays on one of side of the ball and realize that he may in fact be better suited somewhere else.

You see it every year when a prospect will emerge as an "athlete," meaning the recruiting analysts aren't really sure which position he'll play in college.

A lot of times, you'll have an option quarterback make the transition to the secondary, or you'll see a running back move to receiver. In the 2003 class at Clemson, a whole host of players will likely be making a move once they arrive on campus this fall.

Headlining that list will be Robert Reese, a standout quarterback for Temple High School who will see action as a cornerback once he steps onto the practice fields in August.

Another player who will make somewhat of a transition is Sergio Gilliam, a two-way standout from Greer who will also make the complete transition to the secondary after staring as both a wide receiver and a cornerback in each of the last two seasons.

But just what exactly makes the coaching staff think that these players will have the ability to play another position in college?

The important word here is speed.

Speed makes up for a lot of things when talking about college football prospects. Speed allows you to correct mistakes that other players would have difficulty in overcoming. Speed allows you to overpower bigger, stronger players that otherwise might have a significant advantage.

Simply put, Reese and Gilliam are just two athletes that have speed to burn. Both players have been consistently clocked in the sub 4.4 range in high school and both players have the "extra gear" that you like to see in a true cover cornerback in the secondary.

Of course, the player that everybody wants to see on the practice fields next season is C.J. Gaddis, the Tigers' lone quarterback signed in the 2003 class. Gaddis ran the option to perfection the last two seasons at Hoke County, depending on his athletic ability to move the football rather than his arm.

Will he make the move to another position? Probably not, but it's still an interesting story to follow considering that as many as half the schools that offered him a scholarship wanted him either as a wide receiver or a defensive back.

Brandon Nolen is another player that figures to make a move next season. The Old Bridge, New Jersey native was recruited as a running back by schools like Boston College, Wisconsin, and Rutgers, but defensive coordinator John Lovett has maintained all along that Nolen would be the ideal cornerback in his defense.

"We'll give him a look at running back when he gets here, but I think it's going to be hard to keep him out of the defensive backfield," said head coach Tommy Bowden on signing day.

Sometimes, it takes even a year or two before a player will ultimately find the best spot for himself on a football team.

Tye Hill has spent the last two seasons as a running back, before being switched over to corner before the start of spring practice this year.

"To me, I just see it as a way for me to play more and take my game to the next level. If learn how to play it right, I don't see any reason why I can't be one of the great cornerbacks to come out of here and play football the next level," said Hill.

Hill actually requested the move after taking into consideration that the Tigers really don't run the ball that much and that he still appears to be buried in the depth chart at running back.

Whatever the case may be, you can count as many as 4 to 5 players moving out from their natural positions this year. It may not always make the most sense at the time, but in most cases, it usually works out better for both the player and the team.

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