LSU star Maason Smith suspended by NCAA for Florida State game over improper benefit, per reports

No. 5 LSU will be without third-year defensive lineman Maason Smith for its season opener against No. 8 Florida State on Sept. 3 in Orlando. Smith was handed a one-game suspension by the NCAA for allegedly receiving an improper benefit, according to multiple reports.

Smith cooperated with an NCAA investigation into the matter, according to The Advocate, but will still be forced to miss the Tigers’ opener against the Seminoles as punishment. The nature of the alleged improper benefit is not clear. Smith will be able to return to action in Week 2 when LSU faces Grambling State back at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Not having Smith available against Florida State is an all-too-familiar feeling for LSU. Smith started for the Tigers during their Week 1 match against the ‘Noles last year in New Orleans but suffered a season-ending injury as LSU went on to lose the game, 24-23.

Smith has reportedly been dealing with minor injuries during the fall camp but was nevertheless on track to return to action in Week 1. He was voted earlier in the week by coaches as a Preseason All-SEC first team selection despite missing virtually all of 2022.

Smith signed with LSU as one of the nation’s top prospects in 2021. He was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 7 defensive lineman in the country for that cycle and was also the top prospect from the state of Louisiana after starring at Terrebonne High School. He went on to play in nine games as a true freshman for the Tigers, earning four starts that season. 

LSU is entering its second season under coach Brian Kelly, who guided the Tigers to 10 wins and an SEC Championship Game appearance during his debut campaign in 2022. LSU is projected to win the SEC West by the vasty majority of CBS Sports experts in their predicted order of finish released Wednesday.

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