ORLANDO — Soon after his freshman year at Boca Ciega, Saivion Smith began to draw interest from college coaches. After his sophomore year, Smith decided to transfer to Lakewood. Then, before ever playing a down for the Spartans, Smith left for IMG Academy in Bradenton.
By the time he set foot on the IMG campus, Smith had become a five-star cornerback and one of the most sought after recruits in the area.
Smith ended his recruiting process early by committing to LSU. While he said he is still being courted by other schools, he is fully committed to the Tigers. He plans to enroll early and put his high school years behind him.
"A lot of schools are still recruiting me but I'm already committed," Smith said. "It's a done deal. I'll be on campus Jan. 8. I can't wait to get there and start competing. I'm basically ready to get out of here and go do something positive with my life."
Smith said he has no regrets about leaving St. Petersburg to attend IMG. He was able to graduate a semester early. He also started at cornerback for two years with the Ascenders and returned kickoffs and punts.
"I'm glad I went there," Smith said. "It was a great experience to be able to train with the top of the top. You go against the top dogs every day in practice."
While he can't wait to get to Baton Rouge, Smith is still going to enjoy his week at the Under Armour game. It's a chance for him to see old friends from the Tampa Bay area as well as meet other players committed to LSU.
It's also a game he grew up watching and always wanted to play in.
"Since I was a little kid," Smith said, "it was always in St. Pete. They made a little change this year, but I'll get over it."
The popular players: Greenwich (Conn.) WR/DB Scooter Harrington has great hands and speed. Lee's Summit West (Mo.) OL Boe Wilson is strong and powerful.
But the two were selected for the Under Armour All-America Game for another intangible: their popularity.
Harrington and Wilson earned roster spots by winning a fan voting contest that started Oct. 20 and matched 32 of the top players in the country who were not already picked for the game in a bracket-style competition. There were 870,321 votes cast.
Harrington, a tight end, is a three-star recruit who has committed to Boston College. This past season he had 236 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Wilson, a three-star recruit who committed to Nebraska this summer, is ranked as one of the top 30 guards in the nation.
Commitment time: Five players are scheduled to announce their college commitments during the game.
They are: IMG LB Rahshaun Smith and WR Drake Davis, Central (Texas) RB Devwah Whaley, North Mesquite (Texas) OL Jean Delance and DeMatha (Md.) OL Terrance Davis.
The ACC and SEC stand to benefit the most.
Terrance Davis is expected to commit to Maryland while Smith is projected to Clemson.
Whaley is predicted to go to Arkansas and Davis is expected to join Mississippi.
Delance is expected to commit to Texas.