Roquan Smith: New dark horse candidate for top UGA target?

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

A dark horse candidate could be emerging for the state’s highest-rated uncommitted prospect, Roquan Smith.

The 4-star linebacker from Macon County High School named his top three on Tuesday – UGA, Michigan and UCLA.

But a fourth school is trying to squeeze in there two weeks before signing day.

New Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis is flying to Macon County on Wednesday in order to try to convince Smith to take an official visit with the Aggies this weekend. Smith is the state’s No. 5 overall rated prospect.

“Coach Chavis was all over Roquan when he was at LSU,” Macon County coach Larry Harold told the AJC. “When Coach Chavis left, Roquan canceled his trip to LSU.

“Coach Chavis has contacted him since the move, and we had an extensive talk last weekend. He’s trying to get Roquan take a trip out there. They’ll be here (Wednesday), and we’ll see if we can get his ironed out.”

Even if Smith visits Texas A&M, the Aggies appear to be a long shot. But anything is possible because one of Smith’s three finalists, Michigan, wasn’t even a blip on the radar less than a month ago.

Things changed, however, when Michigan hired former Florida assistant DJ Durkin as the new defensive coordinator. “Roquan and Coach Durkin have a really good relationship from when he was at Florida.”

So what’s the connection between Smith and UCLA? “UCLA was the first school to offer him as a sophomore year,” Harold said. “They’ve been on him since day one, and they’ve always been a serious contender.”

UGA is considered the school to beat for Smith, and there are reasons for that. “That has always been his dream school,” Harold said. “Every kid in Georgia grows up wanting to play for Coach Richt and the Bulldogs. Coach Lilly has done a great job recruiting him since his sophomore year. This year, Coach Pruitt, Coach Ekeleker and the other guys on the defensive staff – Roquan is excited about them, as well as the other UGA commits that he played with at the RisingSeniors junior all-star game. Guys like Terry Godwin, Trent Thompson and D’Andre Walker. That really makes it appealing for Roquan to sign with UGA.”

Smith, who took an official visit to UGA last month, will have an in-home visit with Mark Richt on Jan. 28. He will take his final recruiting trip to UCLA on Jan. 30.

Smith will announce his college decision on signing day on ESPNU.

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— By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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