During the middle of Notre Dame’s bye week two weeks ago, Irish running backs coach Tony Alford hit the Sunshine State in search of future targets on the recruiting trail.
His travels led him to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. He offered 2016 4-star wideout Tavares "T.J" Chase on his trip, but he also made sure to introduce himself to talented 2016 corner Saivion Smith while he was on campus.
Less than two weeks later, that introduction paid off for Smith, as he received some good news from Alford earlier this week.
“Tony Alford actually reached out to me,” Smith told Bleacher Report. “I called him up last night and we had a long conversation and he offered me at the end of the conversation. I really like Notre Dame. They have a great tradition, a great background and a good coaching staff.”
The 6’1”, 175-pound Smith—who is a 4-star prospect tabbed as the nation’s seventh-best corner and No. 59 player overall in the 2016 class—admitted that he coveted an offer from Brian Kelly and his staff after seeing his good friend earn one days earlier.
“I was really excited when I got the offer,” Smith said. “I know about their academics. My friend T.J. got offered a little while ago so I was kind of jealous, but I was proud of him and happy for him.”
Smith transferred to IMG in the offseason after beginning his prep career at Lakewood High School in nearby St. Petersburg.
The new surroundings have helped Smith thrive, as he’s recorded five interceptions—two of which he’s returned for touchdowns—a forced fumble and a blocked extra point attempt in just six games.
“It’s great,” Smith said of his new home. “The coaches here are great. Learning all the new techniques here, it’s kind of prepared me for what is coming. Most high schools don’t really offer that.”
In addition the Irish, Smith has earned offers from powers such as Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Clemson and UCLA, among others.
He visited UCF, Florida, Clemson and Virginia Tech in the summer, and he was present for Florida State’s win over Clemson earlier this month.
Smith doesn’t have any more visits planned, instead preferring to focus on his current season at IMG. However, he did mention Alabama and USC as teams he is hoping to hear more from.
Smith insists that he’s in no rush to narrow his options, and a commitment isn't in his immediate plans.
“I actually have to take more visits before I narrow it down to a list, or even get close to making my decision,” Smith said.
One factor he did mention that will play a role in his decision is each school’s academic background. Smith—who reports a 3.0 GPA—hopes to major in sports management in college. Until he makes it to the next level, his current goals are simply to keep growing and progressing on and off the gridiron.
“My goals off the field are to get to a 4.0 GPA or higher, and on the field, I just want to focus on trying to help the team win the rest of our games,” Smith said. “Hopefully we win out and get ranked as high as possible nationally.”
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first hand, and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.