Roquan Smith: UGA target turns in ‘one for the ages’

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Roquan Smith’s high school coach got a text message from UGA’s Mark Richt after the 4-star linebacker turned in one of the state’s most clutch performances of the season.

Smith, who is rated as the state’s No. 7 overall college football prospect for 2015, rushed for 263 yards and three touchdowns to lift Macon County High School to a 36-21 win over Lamar County last Friday.

Smith’s stellar performance helped Macon County win its first region championship since 2007.

“He had one for the ages,” Macon County coach Larry Harold told the AJC.

UGA's Mark Rich (AJC)

UGA’s Mark Rich (AJC)

“We were down, and we needed some big plays,” Harold said. “Roquan put us on his back and carried us to that region title.

After the game, Smith’s coach said he got text messages from Richt, UGA assistant John Lilly and an Auburn assistant, among others. “They were congratulating us on the win, and wishing us the best in the playoffs.”

Back to Smith: The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder plays both ways for the Class AA school. On defense in the same game, he finished with 24 total tackles (although the number is unofficial and Harold has yet to review the film).

“I’m really proud of him because he has kind of put recruiting on the side and focused on our season. We haven’t had this type of success in years. He wanted it bad, and was willing to do whatever it took. I’m just proud of him.

“I’ve never in my life seen a performance like that on both sides of the ball. Twenty four tackles … is as many as some other players have over three or four games. This kid here does that on one side of the ball, then also has 263 yards rushing. It was amazing — two 70-yard touchdowns.

“He showed his overall explosion, and change of direction. He’s just a phenomenal athlete.”

What’s the latest with recruiting? It has always been rumored to be head-to-head battle between UGA and Florida, although Smith hasn’t officially named any leaders. He has agreed to take official visits to UGA, Florida and UCLA after the season, and is deciding on two other destinations.

He’s tentatively scheduled an unofficial visit to UGA’s game against Auburn on Saturday, although that could change if Smith has another long and productive night in the first round of the state playoffs.

“As far as I know, he’s going to UGA on Saturday,” Harold said. “But this is unchartered territory for us. He wants to push hard to make a deep playoff run. We’ll see how it goes on Friday.”

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