Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith is not expected to sign a National Letter of Intent when he finalizes his college decision, whenever that may be.
Smith announced his commitment to UCLA last week on National Signing Day, but he never submitted his signed letter of intent to make the choice final. This was because UCLA lost defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich to an NFL job with the Atlanta Falcons, a move that was made official just after signing day. Knowing the defensive coach was not going to be a part of his promising college future, Smith decided it would be best to take some time to weigh his options before going all in with UCLA.
UCLA may end up being the final destination, but Georgia, Michigan and Texas A&M are all under consideration according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report Tuesday. There is also no timetable for when a decision may be made. Instead, Smith will officially be a new member of his program of choice on his first day of summer classes.
“He’s not going to sign a letter of intent,” Smith’s high school coach at Macon County Larry Harold said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Harold had previously ripped some colleges for the recruiting processes by some programs holding back information about coaching staff changes. “The reason why is because what he went through last week. This just gives us flexibility in case something else unexpectedly happens again.”
Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated recently explained why top high school athletes should not bother signing a letter of intent (which was led off by telling Smith’s recruiting story). It is often a common misconception that a player needs to sign a letter of intent, but this is not true. The letter of intent does bring an end to the recruiting process, but as Staples points out, it is not necessary, especially for top recruits that can get a scholarship almost anywhere.
For Smith, there is no real need to sign that letter of intent. A scholarship at UCLA or Georgia or Michigan or Texas A&M or just about anywhere else will be available to him when he does make his decision. For now, it is as close to free agency we will get in college football.