Macon County – Montezuma, Ga.
No. 62 overall player in the country
No. 1 MLB in the country
No. 6 overall player in Georgia
The final piece of Georgia’s recruiting puzzle is in - and he fits perfectly.
Roquan Smith--who made national headlines by delaying signing a letter of intent after committing to UCLA over Georgia on Signing Day--on Friday committed to the Bulldogs over the Bruins.
Smith said that he knew as early as Wednesday of this week that he was headed to Athens.
“I’m 100% sure,” Smith said earlier this week.
Smith firmed that up Friday: "I am relieved to say that I am officially committed to the University of Georgia. Thank you so mush to all my true supporters and my community. I will make you nothing short of proud.”
For the Bulldogs it officially ends the most successful recruiting class in the history of the school. With Smith’s commitment, Georgia jumped over Tennessee to finish No. 4 in Scout’s final recruiting rankings. The Bulldogs have finished fourth before, but they have more recruits and more total points this year than they did in 2006 when Matthew Stafford, Geno Atkins and Knowshon Moreno headlined a class that eventually had eight Bulldogs drafted by NFL teams.
Smith said that he does not plan on signing a letter of intent to play for Georgia. Instead, he will sign financial aid papers that, according to NCAA bylaws, bind the Bulldogs to take Smith, but do not bind Smith to play for Georgia - a point that Smith says is just a precaution. He intends to play four years of football at Georgia and enroll in classes this summer, which would then bind him to the Bulldogs the way signing a letter of intent would have.
“That’s my plan,” he said of playing college football at Georgia. Considered the No. 1 overall middle linebacker by Scout, Smith is a four-star recruit that Scout also names as the No. 62 overall player in the country. Smith helped Macon County to its best record (9-3) since 2005, and the Bulldogs’ 11th region title in school history.
Smith figures to be a key cog in Georgia’s defense in the future. The Bulldogs are replacing two starting middle linebackers this fall, and while Smith has never played a down of college football, insiders say he will have a chance to play a lot and possibly even start a game or two due to his ability to run and cover, which has become critical in this day’s SEC.
SCOUTING: Smith is a linebacker that still has some developing to do physically, but he plays bigger than his actual weight. He brings some pop when he makes a tackle--and he is a solid tackler. He gets to the ball in a hurry and he is a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker. He can come on a blitz or turn and run in coverage. He shines as much on offense as he does defense in high school. He has great range and leadership skills. - Chad Simmons
LEGGE’S QUESTION: Size. The only real question with Smith is how much mass he can add without changing the way in which he can move.
LEGGE’S THOUGHTS: I really felt for Smith as he sat in recruiting purgatory those ten days in February. He really did like what UCLA’s Jeff Ulbrich had to say about his future with the Bruins. But something didn’t seem right, and Smith didn’t sign the papers right away. If his instincts are that good in the SEC, he’s going to have a heck of a career. Roquan Smith is a leaner version of Alec Ogletree. He’s going to play a lot on third downs in 2015. He could start, but I feel very confident he’s going to be a third-down guy for Georgia’s defense right away. Long term, Smith is one of the top prospects the Bulldogs signed in 2015. His football instincts are as good as anyone signed. He should play in the NFL in the future if injury doesn’t prevent it. He’s a high-caliber player; the sky is the limit for him. Smith could be a multi-year starter at Georgia and a high-round draft pick in the NFL. He’s that good.