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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Smart Move

The Bucs swapped two practice squad spots again, adding Ian Smart, one of the most productive college players ever, and return specialist DeAndrew Rubin


RB Ian Smart, who spent the last two camps with the Jets, is the leading scorer in NCAA history

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced a series of practice squad moves on Wednesday, and as far as that squad goes, they are fairly interesting maneuvers.

At one spot, the team swapped one University of South Florida player for another, signing wide receiver/return specialist DeAndrew Rubin and releasing wide receiver Huey Whittaker.

At another, the team added the NCAA's all-time leader in touchdowns, former C.W. Post running back Ian Smart. To make room for Smart on the eight-man practice squad, the team released fullback Casey Moore.

Both Whittaker and Moore had just signed with the Buccaneers last week.

Smart (5-8, 192) spent the past two training camps with the New York Jets after finishing an astonishingly productive college career at C.W. Post. In four years at Post, he ran for 6,647 yards, scored 95 touchdowns and amassed 570 points. His rushing total is the fourth best in NCAA history and his scoring marks are the best ever. As a senior in 2002, Smart ran for 2,023 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Smart was not drafted in 2003, but he signed with the Jets after the draft before being waived at the end of the preseason. Smart re-signed with New York after the season and went over to NFL Europe, where he carried the ball 41 times for 201 yards and a touchdown. Smart was again waived by the Jets at the end of this year's preseason.

Rubin (6-0, 180) is a former prep star from St. Petersburg, just like the man he replaced, Moore. While Moore excelled at St. Pete Catholic, Rubin went to Dixie Hollins, where he teamed with future USF cohort QB Marquel Blackwell. In fact, Rubin and Blackwell played together from youth leagues through their college years. Blackwell was given a tryout with the Buccaneers this past spring.

In four seasons at USF, Rubin played in 42 games with 18 starts and caught 91 passes for 1,306 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also proved to be a serious threat as a return man, averaging 16.4 yards on 64 punt returns and 26.0 yards on 59 kickoff returns. Rubin also scored five times on returns (four punt, one kickoff), including three times in his 2002 senior season.

Against Northern Illinois in 2002, Rubin caught four passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns, including a school-record 95-yard reception, and added a third touchdown on a punt return.

Rubin first entered the league as a seventh-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2003. He was most recently with the Indianapolis Colts.

Last week, the Buccaneers signed Moore and Whittaker and released G/LS James Broyles and RB Joe Smith. RB Earnest Graham, DE Issac Hilton, C Scott Jackson, DE Corey Smith, WR Allen Suber and CB Ronyell Whitaker form the rest of the practice squad.

That unit just increased from five men to eight this season. That higher limit offers teams greater flexibility in the dual pursuits of the practice squad: developing players and shoring up thin positions during practice. The four moves in two weeks indicate the Bucs' desire to check out a number of prospects in person.

Rubin and Smart signed in time to join the Bucs on the practice field on Wednesday. Practice squad members can participate in all of the team's workouts but are not eligible to play in games.

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