Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with former LSU cornerback Saivion Smith, who’s being targeted by Alabama.
Alabama targeting former LSU CB Saivion Smith
Saivion Smith is already thinking about the environment of his next college football game. Smith played his freshman season at LSU, where Tiger Stadium holds more than 100,000 fans on game day. His next game may have fewer than 100 times that amount.
“It’s definitely a humbling experience,” Smith told SEC Country about his transfer from LSU to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. “I’m going from having 102,000 people at games to like, maybe, 1,000 or 2,000 at the most. That’s going to be an adjustment. There’s also not much out here. It’s forcing me to focus, and I like that.”
Smith, a former 5-star prospect at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), transferred from LSU to MGCCC in June for “personal and family reasons,” he said. He wouldn’t go deeper than that. Smith was expected to be a contributor for the Tigers this season and crack the team’s two-deep depth chart.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect said he doesn’t regret signing with LSU and still believes it was the best place for him coming out of high school. He still communicates with Tigers defensive backs Kevin Toliver and Kristian Fulton every day and is in a group text with several more LSU players.
When Smith told coach Ed Orgeron his plans to transfer, he said the coach supported his decision and wished him well.
“He understood what was going on with me,” Smith said. “He was behind me 100 percent. I know he just wanted the best for me. He was one of my main recruiters coming out of high school, along with [defensive backs coach] Corey Raymond. Coach O wanted nothing but the best for me.”
Now that he’s a recruit again, Smith said he’s only aware of two offers thus far: Alabama and South Carolina. He’s not favoring either school at the moment and laughed and said, “Well, because I only have two offers, both schools have a 50-50 shot at landing my commitment.”
Alabama offered Smith earlier this week. The Crimson Tide were recruiting him coming out of high school, but the Tigers were always considered the strong favorite before he committed and signed with them.
The Alabama coaching staff had been in contact with Smith and the Mississippi Gulf Coast coaching staff a week prior to him receiving an offer. Smith talked with Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was the one to present him the scholarship offer.
“He thinks I would have a really good opportunity at Alabama to play early,” Smith said. “They’re going to be losing three or four cornerbacks after this season. Trevon Diggs will be the only one left. The chance to play is there.”
Cornerback is arguably Alabama’s top priority in the 2018 class after signing zero at the position in 2017. The team will lose Anthony Averett, Tony Brown and likely Minkah Fitzpatrick after this season. In the 2016 class, Alabama signed defensive backs Shyheim Carter, Nigel Knott, Jared Mayden and Aaron Robinson.
Knott is the only boundary corner out of the group. Robinson was, but he decided to transfer. Cornerback depth is a glaring issue heading into next season.
“That helps Alabama a lot,” Smith said. “I want to go to a place that I can play immediately and has a great coaching staff. I definitely want to go to a place that I can compete for a national championship and have my talents showcased in front of NFL coaches and scouts.”
Smith is now one of the team’s top cornerback targets in the 2018 class along with Tyson Campbell, Josh Jobe and Patrick Surtain Jr. Smith said Saban told him that he can commit to the team whenever he wants. It’s likely that Alabama will still evaluate him this season at MGCCC, though. Smith isn’t sure when he’ll make a commitment to his school of choice, but it will be before the end of the year as he’s a December graduate.
When that time comes, Alabama will certainly be a finalist.
“I love how much Alabama wins and how they compete for national championships pretty much every year since I’ve been paying attention to college football,” Smith said. “They are one of the top-tier teams. I like what Nick Saban has done there. I know he came from LSU and won them a national championship. I also like how Nick Saban coaches the DBs there. That’s definitely a plus.”
The junior college prospect will have two years of eligibility remaining when he transfers to an FBS school this January. He’s already thought of the idea of playing against LSU.
“We played Alabama last year on my birthday,” Smith said. “The game is usually around then every year, so I always think about that. But if I was to go to Alabama and play against LSU, I would just treat it like every other game. But, it would be really crazy to play against my former teammates.”
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