In the end, the alleged dishonesty seemingly cost UCLA a highly-touted and highly-talented recruit.
After more than a week’s worth of drama on multiple fronts, Roquan Smith announced via social media Friday morning that he will be playing his collegiate football at the University of Georgia. The decision to stay in his home state comes nine days after the star linebacker announced in a public ceremony that he was committing to play his college football at UCLA. A short time later, however, it was reported that Smith was wavering on his decision; not so coincidentally, around that time reports began to surface that UCLA’s defensive coordinator, Jeff Ulbrich, was ticketed for a job with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Smith’s Macon County high school coach, Larry Harold, confirmed his former player’s decision in a text message to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“The prodigal son stays home!” Harold wrote. “Roquan Smith signs grant-in-aid papers to attend UGA!”
That text also confirms that Smith declined to sign a National Letter of Intent with UGA, which some believe could be the start of a nationwide trend moving forward, especially for elite recruits.
The drama notwithstanding, the Bulldogs will be getting themselves a player armed with an impressive recruiting résumé. A four-star recruit according to Rivals.com, Smith was rated as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 77 player overall.
In addition to UGA and UCLA, Smith’s other finalists were Michigan and Texas A&M.