Mark Richt treated like a rock star while recruiting in Middle Georgia

Mark Richt got treated like a rock star when he visited Middle Georgia this week to visit one of UGA’s top remaining targets.

Mark Richt (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Mark Richt (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

He was at Macon County High School, located 130 miles south of Atlanta, to meet with 4-star linebacker Roquan Smith on Wednesday.

While Richt waited for Smith to get out of class, he was asked if he could make some celebrity appearances. The football coach was happy to oblige.

“Coach Richt spent 30 minutes at all three of our schools – the elementary, middle and high school,” Macon County coach Larry Harold told the AJC. “He signed autographs. He took pictures. He kissed babies. He got the whole town excited.

“We have a lot of faithful UGA fans down here. They always told me that if Coach Richt comes in town, they wanted to see him. It’s just different down here. We’ve got a lot of UGA alumni and fans around here. Everybody in the community got riled up about his visit.”

“Coach Richt didn’t mind. He took time out of his busy schedule to visit everybody. After that, he visited with Roquan’s family. He made a day of it. That was really special.”

There have been several celebrity sightings this week in Macon Count. Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin was there on Tuesday, while Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh made the rounds on Thursday.

Harbaugh wants Smith so badly that he went to see Roquan’s mother at her job at Fort Valley State.

ILB Roquan Smith (AJC)

ILB Roquan Smith (AJC)

“(Harbaugh) visited her at work, and he also visited with Roquan’s aunt and uncle,” Harold said. “He did the same things as Coach Richt. He visited some people for us, and shook some hands. All three of those men coming here was a big deal to our community. It gave people something to get excited about. It gives our younger players motivation to work hard.”

Smith will decide next Wednesday between UGA (his rumored frontrunner), Texas A&M, UCLA and Michigan. He left on Thursday for his final official visit, catching a flight to UCLA.

“The thing that surprised me is that he left tonight to go to UCLA, and he really doesn’t have his mind made up,” Harold said. “That’s what really surprised me after speaking with him.

“Once he gets back from UCLA, he’s going to talk with his family and me. We’re going to pray about it. He plans on having a decision by Tuesday night. It’s a big decision in a young man’s life. He’s going to seek the Lord for direction, and talk to his family and me.

“Next Wednesday will be an exciting day. We’re excited about having the national media come to our little community. We’ll be able to show off the hard work of our young men to the rest of the nation.”

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— By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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