Sept. 16 made for somewhat of an odd visit to Starkville for two Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College defenders.
As recently as last season, Saivion Smith and Isaiah Washington were planning on being on the field at Davis-Wade Stadium, suited up in LSU’s purple and gold.
That changed this summer when both former blue chip prospects transferred to Perkinston to begin their second act as collegiate athletes.
As a result, Smith and Washington were witnesses — instead of participants — in Mississippi State’s dismantling of the LSU Tigers.
The game provided a new perspective to both Bulldogs, not only in the literal sense, but also in terms of their outlook on recruiting.
Smith didn’t seem as attached as Washington.
“It was a little weird, but I’m not there anymore so I don’t really have that feeling anymore,” Smith said Thursday after Gulf Coast’s win over East Central.
“It was a different feeling, going on the field and seeing your buddies you just played with a couple months ago and now they’re getting the snot beat out of them and drug,” Washington added. “It gives you a different outlook on what could be. When I was getting recruited State wasn’t a big school. Now State’s a big powerhouse. They gave me a lot to think about.
“They’d be in the top five. It’s close to home and close to the community of Mississippi, which I’m growing to love.”
Coming out of Edna Karr High in New Orleans as a member of the 2015 signing class, the former four-star recruit had offers from the likes of Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and other big programs.
As of last Thursday, only Southern Miss had offered the 6-foot-4, 236-pound defensive end. He’s hopeful MSU and other big programs begin showing more interest with a big season at MGCCC.
Through four games, Washington has recorded 20 tackles with one sack and one fumble recovery.
Smith was equally impressed with Starkville; specifically, the gameday atmosphere.
“The cowbells were crazy. That’s the first time I’ve ever been there in my life,” Smith said. “I thought they were playing about the cowbells, but they’re dead serious about them things. It was loud.”
Smith currently reports offers from MSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, South Carolina and Southern Miss.
Schools that can offer Smith immediate playing time will move to the front of the line.
“I’m looking to go somewhere and start off the bat,” he said. “I’m going to be a junior when I go in, so I’m only going to have two years left. I’m looking to go somewhere, start and make an impact early.”
Smith said there’s no definite timetable to make a decision.
“I’ll make a decision whenever the time comes,” he said.
Smith has been an impact player for the Bulldogs in a number of ways. He’s recorded 14 tackles with one forced fumble, pick-six and a team-high six pass breakups. He’s also averaging 26.8 yards per kick return.