Reaction from state’s coaches on Roquan Smith bypassing LOI (UPDATED)

Roquan Smith could change the landscape of college football recruiting forever, if he sticks with his plans to not sign a national letter of intent after he commits to college. His high school coach told AJC that’s the plan in a story you can READ HERE.

Here’s some reaction from other high school coaches on Roquan’s potential game-changing maneuver:

North Gwinnett’s Bob Sphire: “It just seems in general few players would have this kind of leverage.  That’s just my initial reaction to your questions about the long term results of this situation. Of course, there are so many angles to all of this that one never knows when an incident like this gets some lawyer involved in some way and once the judicial system gets involved in something like this then  predicting the outcome is like winning the lottery. Who would have predicted years ago what the Curt Flood baseball free agency issue eventually evolved into in today’s sporting world? I suspect this is a blip on the screen, but I guess we shall see.”

Arden Key’s coach, Winston Gordon of Hapeville Charter: “I think this is a monumental situation, and it will forever change the landscape of college recruiting. I always err on the side of the student-athlete because they are kids. The D1 coaches make life-changing money and can rebound from their decisions. So I think even with my player, Arden Key … three weeks prior to signing day, LSU made a change in its coaching staff with the change of Brick Haley to Ed Orgeron (as defensive line coach). If Arden didn’t feel comfortable with that change, he would have probably been in the same situation at Roquan.” Key signed with LSU.

Lassiter’s Jep Irwin: “I think it is a viable option for the elite recruits that is not used enough. However, if you are not an elite recruit, this could backfire on the family. It’s important to know where you rank on a school’s board for your position and if they are willing to wait past national signing day.”

Arabia Mountain’s Stanley Pritchett: “I think this will affect the recruiting for the higher-ranked kids because they will hold the leverage over schools. But for the majority of kids, I don’t think this will affect them because there’s a possibility that it could backfire if they try the same thing.”

Creekside’s Olten Downs: “I think it can be revolutionary, as I believe many parents and high school coaches didn’t know exactly what kind of document that an NLI really is. I can see future recruits doing the same … it seems as if the NCAA would step in and provide some new type of legislation if this became more prevalent.”

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Central Gwinnett’s Todd Wofford: “I’ve been following it. I’m not sure but I would assume that there will be pressure to make some adjustment to the letter-signing process. The recruiting approach these days is family and trust, and these type things happen yearly (coaches leaving right after signing day). And the college coaches are really never in a position be accountable to the families that bought in to their sales pitch. I don’t know if putting a clause in the letter somehow would be the answer. They pay people way smarter than me to figure that one out.”

Coach of Trenton Thompson, Octavia Jones of Westover: “I believe that we will see this happen again.”

Stephenson’s Ron Gartell: “Recruiting is tough enough as it is. Not signing a letter of intent would only affect a small percentage of players. Most players are excited about National Signing Day and so are their families. I believe all players need guidance by someone who really understand the process. Recruits must understand that college coaches are always looking for something better. Recruits should make their decision based on several things, not whether a coach will be their or not. It’s not that college coaches are not trustworthy, they are like most men should be. They will make decisions based on what’s best for their families and their careers. Players should enjoy the moment by selecting the brand that fits them, but respect the future by understanding the importance of education.”

Faith Baptist Christian’s Jonathan Morgans: “Some kids choose colleges because of the coaches. Personally, I feel like it’s a good thing what’s he’s doing, If they really want you, they will stick by you. If they don’t, then you know where you stand.”

Norcross’ Keith Maloof: “This can only impact a small group of people. The majority of the time we tell our kids to go to the best place for you because you can’t always expect the coaching staff to stay intact all four or five years of your college.”

Milton’s Howie DeCristofaro: “We tell our players not to commit to a coach — they change like the weather. Commit to a program. The program’s building never moves.”

Burke County’s Eric Parker: “Nowadays, recruiters start building relationships with kids as early as when they’re in the ninth grade. And it’s devastating when the coach leaves before or soon after they get there. At the end of the day, it’s important for the high school coaches to make it clear with the kids and their parents that it’s a business. College coaches will get opportunities that put them and their families in a better situation, and they are going to take them. For example, our quarterback from last year (Donquell Green) built a special relationship with his recruiting coach at Marshall (Todd Hartley). After one year, Coach Hartley got an opportunity to take a job at UGA, which is obviously a step up. He took it, and you can’t blame the coach for doing that. However, I do agree with Coach Harold that it’s deception when you know you’re leaving and you tell the kid you’re going to be there (in order to sign the kid). That’s a flat-out lie, and I don’t think that’s ethical. However, I don’t know if there is a real answer to stopping this practice.”