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 one of Alabama’s top defensive back targets.
Saivion Smith trending toward Alabama?
Saivion Smith is no stranger to SEC football, and he’ll likely be playing in the conference once again next season. Smith played one season for LSU before transferring to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Smith, the nation’s No. 1 junior college cornerback, now has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and South Carolina. Those are the only offers Smith is aware of.
It’s Alabama that’s the trending school for Smith, and the Crimson Tide have been pushing for the former Tigers cornerback since they offered him last month. Since then, Smith has visited Tuscaloosa twice — once for a practice and this past weekend for the team’s game against Ole Miss.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect said Tuscaloosa, this past Saturday night, was buzzing. Inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, the secondary shut down Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson to 165 yards and 2 interceptions.
“I played against [Alabama] last year, so I know what they can do,” Smith told SEC Country. “This past weekend, they had two turnovers in the secondary. Alabama’s defense is known for takeaways. That’s what they do. They shut people down.”
Though it seems likely that Smith ends up committing to Alabama at some point, he said he doesn’t have a leader and is considering all of the SEC schools that have offered him on an equal level.
Alabama offers an opportunity for Smith that he’s looking for — early playing time. Alabama’s starting cornerbacks, Anthony Averett and Levi Wallace, will leave following this season after exhausting their eligibility. The Crimson Tide also didn’t sign a cornerback in the 2017 class. The only true corners Alabama has coming back next season are Trevon Diggs, who lost his starting spot to Wallace, and Nigel Knott.
Coach Nick Saban has told Smith that he sees him making an immediate impact for Alabama if he were to end up signing with the Tide.
“It’s definitely good knowing that they don’t have many corners coming back next year,” Smith said. “I could possibly come in and play next year. That’s a big factor. Alabama is always going to have great players behind the scenes who may not be playing right now, but I feel like I could go anywhere and compete right away.”
Smith definitely doesn’t lack confidence. He told SEC Country that he believes he’s the best player currently in junior college. His play on the field has backed up his talk. Through 5 games, Smith has 17 tackles, 6 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, a forced fumble and a touchdown. He’s also the team’s primary kick returner and has averaged 26.5 yards per return.
“I feel like that I am the best player on any level I play at, but especially on this level,” Smith said. “The competition level isn’t what it was like in the SEC. Playing in the SEC gave me a huge advantage here because the players aren’t as prepared physically or mentally.”
Smith said he’s leaning on returning to Tuscaloosa for Alabama’s game against LSU on Nov. 4. That will be an official visit. He’s also planning on taking an official visit to Auburn. His teammate at Mississippi Gulf Coast, Daquan Newkirk, is committed to the Tigers and has been recruiting him, Smith said.
Those are the only two schools, at the moment, that he’s planning to visit. But when you listen to what Smith is looking for in his next school, it sounds like everything Alabama has to offer any recruit.
“I’m looking for a great coaching staff,” Smith said. “I want to choose a program that is known for winning and putting their players in the NFL. I definitely want to compete for a national championship. Those are some of the things I’m looking for in the next program I choose.”
Alabama and Mississippi State are the only two schools he has visited since transferring from LSU. Does he need to see anything else out of Alabama moving forward?
“Their play just speaks for itself. They dominate everybody,” Smith said. “I feel like their coaching staff is solid. They’re not going anywhere. They have a good academic program and support. There’s really no question marks on Alabama.
“Wouldn’t you want to play for a team that is always winning? Wouldn’t you consider playing for a team like that?”
Smith said he isn’t planning on making a commitment until he graduates from junior college this December. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make a decision before then, though. He remains in my projected signing class for the Tide along with Tyson Campbell, Nadab Joseph and Jalyn Armour-Davis in the secondary.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook right here.
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