Roquan Smith, who is headed to UGA, surprised a lot of people when he initially committed to UCLA over the Bulldogs in front of ESPN cameras on February’s signing day.
We know how all of that turned out. The linebacker from Macon County High School held off from signing with UCLA after nearly getting burned with a coaching change by the Bruins. He ultimately committed to UGA, where Smith will be an official recruit when he enrolls in classes in a few weeks.
But before there was UCLA or UGA, there was another place that Smith thought he headed. Smith, who was tight-lipped during the entire recruiting process, admitted to the AJC this week that he could’ve been Auburn-bound.
“I never really told anyone publicly who my leader was — once upon a time, Auburn was my leader,” Smith said. “They were really in it. For a moment, I thought I would be signing there.
“Auburn led for me early in my junior year for a time. I don’t know what really happened there. They changed some defensive coaches, and the DC (Ellis Johnson) wasn’t recruiting me that hard. He wasn’t on me that much, so I looked more at the schools that were on me.”
Here’s the rest of the Q&A with Smith reflecting on the recruiting process:
You’re committed to UGA in mid-March. Which school finished runner-up? “Michigan or UCLA.” What could either have done any better? “They did what they could. There was nothing they could do to beat out Georgia at that point.”
How do you feel about being called a “trendsetter” for being the first elite football prospect to decline signing your letter of intent? “I don’t consider myself a trendsetter or anything. I just did what I thought was best for my situation.”
The most creative thing a college did to get your attention? “The artwork by Georgia. They drew a picture of me. It did look a good bit like me. I enjoyed the picture. I kept it.”
Biggest regret during recruiting? “I really don’t have any regrets. I would’ve said I maybe I could’ve committed earlier, but (by waiting longer) it helped out my teammates and stuff. It gave them some attention and helped them out some.”
What recruiting advice would you give to a high school junior? “Do what you think is best for you. Take as many of your visits as your can. Take advantage of those opportunities. You only get to go through this once.”
Which school disappointed you the most? “I would say Florida State. They came on me at the tail end. They offered me, and then they laid off. And then when I was finishing up in recruiting, they came back on me. I didn’t understand it.”
What do you miss most about the recruiting process? “I don’t miss anything about the recruiting process. Well, OK, I miss the visits. That’s about it.”
Smith said he “pretty much” has been cleared by UGA’s admissions, and he reports to the Bulldogs on June 1. CLICK HERE to read more about Smith’s UGA plans and his expectations for his freshman season.