Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
Former LSU cornerback Saivion Smith will play at Alabama next season.

How was former LSU Tiger Saivion Smith able to transfer to Alabama?

Alex Hickey

SEC Country reporter Alex Hickey will answer your LSU Tigers sports queries each weekday in our LSU Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryLSU@bigahickey or by email to Alex at

Question of the Day: Thursday, Dec. 7

I am stealing a question from colleague Sam Spiegelman’s LSU recruiting Facebook Live from Wednesday night. It’s not a recruiting question, per se, but it’s one that more than a few Tigers fans have been wondering this week.

Former LSU cornerback Saivion Smith announced he will be attending Alabama next year. Fans like Chris Keyes are curious as to how that’s possible.

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The reason Smith was able to go to Alabama is because he spent this season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which eliminated any chance of LSU putting a restriction on his transfer. That’s the upside of a player going the JUCO route — he can do whatever he wants with his future.

It’s not an uncommon practice. If you’re a New Orleans Saints fan, you’re an Alvin Kamara fan. The running back went the opposite path of Smith, going from Alabama to Hutchinson Community College to Tennessee. So it’s not as if the Tide are the only team that has benefitted from this practice. Losing Kamara is a net loss compared to gaining Smith.

LSU has previously struck gold with a junior college transfer who started at another SEC program — quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who went from Georgia to LSU via Butler Community College.

Last year, the Tigers got a player who transferred from LSU to a junior college program only to come back to Baton Rouge — defensive tackle Travonte Valentine. Of course, Valentine failed to pan out in his second stint as a Tiger and is out of football. The greater point is that the Tigers aren’t always the ones getting burned in these kinds of situations.

Does it stink that Smith will be at Alabama? Sure. But if Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson both return to LSU next year, you’ll never even notice he left.

To see prior answers to our Question of the Day, we have you covered.