Editor’s note: As LSU prepares for what should be a promising 2016 campaign, expectations are sky-high as the team returns 18 starters and the nation’s third-ranked recruiting class.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a closer look at LSU’s 25 most important players who will determine whether this upcoming season will be a success or letdown.
No. 24: Kristian Fulton, Saivion Smith
LSU returns a handful of stars to its secondary in 2016, but is going to count on a number of true freshmen defensive backs in some critical roles pretty quickly.
Saivion Smith was an early enrollee, and due to a high volume of injuries, was thrust into action in LSU’s cornerback rotation this spring. The Florida native impressed, too, and was one of the true freshmen that caught coach Les Miles’ eye after playing flawlessly right away.
“He’s long, athletic and very capable there as well,” Miles said of Smith. “A couple of freshmen came in and did very well. It looks like a couple of those guys on defense will play.”
Smith saw early playing time as Tre’Davious White and Kevin Toliver II battled injuries. White was in and out of the lineup, while Toliver missed the entirety of spring practices. Nickelback Donte Jackson participated early on, but due to track obligations and eventually being ruled academically ineligible, paved the way for Smith to take additional snaps.
During fall camp, former five-star prospect and the No. 2 cornerback in the nation Kristian Fulton should join Smith in the defensive back rotation. In high school, Fulton proved to be a lockdown cornerback capable of holding Louisiana’s top wide receivers in check on a week-to-week basis.
Fulton chose LSU over the likes of Florida and Arkansas knowing that defensive backs coach Corey Raymond envisioned some sort of role for him right away. Like Smith, the New Orleans native should be able to assimilate into the SEC quickly, and by season’s end could earn prominent playing time.
Coming Wednesday: A player that just changed positions
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.