LSU is losing cornerback Saivion Smith.
The once-highly decorated high school prospect from Florida announced Wednesday on Twitter that he's transferring from the program. An LSU spokesman confirmed that Smith is leaving the team.
Smith, a sophomore who played in a reserve role as a true freshman last year, was expected to challenge for significant playing time this season. He competed with junior Kevin Toliver during spring practice, playing behind him and at times finding himself on the field when the Tigers were in the nickel (five-defensive back) formation.
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His playing time was far from guaranteed, though. Smith and redshirt freshman Andraez Williams were seen rotating during several practices, each getting a crack at the position behind Toliver, the projected starter at cornerback opposite Donte Jackson.
"My parents and I have decided it's in the best interest for my growth as a student-athlete and young adult that I transfer from LSU," he said in a message posted on Twitter.
A St. Petersburg native, Smith enrolled early at LSU last January, arriving as a five-star rated prospect out of IMG Academy. Scout.com ranked Smith as the No. 1 cornerback in the 2016 class and, arguably, the biggest get in what was coach Les Miles' final group of signees.
It took a few games, but Smith developed into a player the Tigers relied upon late. He played in the final seven games of his rookie year, usurping an injured Toliver down the stretch.
Toliver was one of the most-talked about players during spring practice, fully recovered from several ailments — and a disciplinary suspension — that held him back last season.
Smith pushed Toliver, mentally and physically, Toliver said during spring.
“We’re competing. He’s saying, ‘I bet I get a pick today!’ ” Toliver said in March. “I don’t do a whole lot of talking. I do my talking on the field.”
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Williams, who redshirted last year as a freshman, is a natural fit to move up in LSU's cornerback depth chart. Sophomore Kristian Fulton, the top-ranked signee in Louisiana in 2016, is also likely to benefit from Smith's exit. Also, signees Jontre Kirklin and Kary Vincent will arrive this summer to challenge for playing time in a secondary that could see plenty of young faces next season.
Freshman and midyear enrollee Grant Delpit participated with the starters during LSU's spring game, and fellow midyear enrollee Jacoby Stevens is expected to challenge for playing time, too.
God Bless 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/0AXMobOrpb— 🎱 (@Saivion_1k) June 1, 2017