Roquan Smith will announce college decision on Friday

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

LB Roquan Smith (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Roquan Smith, the linebacker from Georgia who has been in the national spotlight since last week’s signing day, is expected to reveal his college decision on Friday, according to his coach.

“When I get back in town on Friday, we’re going to get everything done that day,” Macon County High School coach Larry Harold told the AJC on Wednesday night. “He’s in a good place. That’s pretty much it.”

Last Wednesday in front of ESPN cameras, Smith committed to UCLA over UGA, while also considering Texas A&M and Michigan. Smith didn’t turn in his official paperwork later the day after reports surfaced that UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had accepted a job with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

Harold declined to give any hints about Smith’s new college choice, other than to say that Smith has already decided on it.

“Yeah, he’s 100-percent sold on his next school,” Harold said. “He’s in a good place. He has known since about Tuesday. I’m pretty sure that staff knows that he’s coming.”

Smith could change the landscape of college football recruiting, as far as high-profile prospects and national letters of intent (NLI). After nearly getting burned last week, Smith has said he will not sign the NLI with his chosen college — and may be the first elite football recruit to go this route.

Smith instead will sign grant-in-aid papers with his next choice, and he’ll be that school’s official recruit when he attends his first day of classes this summer.

“The place he says on Friday will be where he’s going to college,” Harold said. “This Friday thing isn’t going to be a big deal. We’re going to sign the papers, and just send them in.”

5 things to know about Roquan Smith’s situation

  • Roquan Smith could make history by becoming the first high-profile football recruit to not sign a NLI. It has happened before in other sports, most notably college basketball.
  • College football prospects sign two sets of papers during the signing period: A NLI (which binds the recruit to the college) and a grant-in-aid (which binds the college to the recruit). Roquan will only sign the grant-in-aid.
  • Technically, because he isn’t going to sign a NLI, Smith will be a free agent until he attends his first day of college classes. At that point, he will officially be counted as a recruit of that college.
  • The national signing period for high school players to sign a NLI goes from Feb. 4 to April 1. If a senior high schooler accepts a football scholarship after April 1, he can only sign grant-in-aid papers.
  • The college that Roquan signs a grant-in-aid with will be able to publicly comment on him once he faxes in his paperwork, per NCAA rules.