Roquan Smith will make announcement on Friday

By EFN Staff
Published: 02/12/2015

National Signing Day 2015 unfolded with very little drama overall but two commitments held off on faxing in their letters of intent, Baker County defensive end CeCe Jefferson and Macon County linebacker Roquan Smith.

Jefferson, a 5-star recruit, seemed confused over his decision between his commitment to the Florida Gators and perhaps wanting to play for the Auburn Tigers. In the end Jefferson faxed in his LOI, albeit a few days after NSD, to play for the Gators.

For Smith, things were a little bit different. He committed to UCLA but before he could fax in his LOI college coaches from other staffs started calling/texting him letting him know that UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had been offered a job with the Atlanta Falcons.

Not having Ulbrich around was a game changer for Smith but did the UCLA staff or Ulbrich inform Smith of the behind the scenes dealings ahead of time? In an interview with UGASports.com, Smith acknowledged that Ulbrich did tell him an offer was made but that he turned it down.

Excerpt from Smith’s interview, “UCLA’s a great school and all of this and that, but Coach Ulbrich did say that Coach Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons) had called him the night before, but he had declined the job offer.

“I felt like Coach (Jim) Mora should have hit me up and said there's potential that Coach Ulbrich may be leaving. Then, they tried to get me to go ahead and send the papers in, but I wasn't doing it. They tried to get me to send them in at 8 in the morning.

“Doing a lot of research, which I should have done earlier in the process and thank goodness I had more time, they don't even have my major. I was going to major in business, and the only way to get into business school out there is to be in graduate school.”

Smith went on to add he thought the coaches had “kind of” mislead him but also said, “I thought they were keeping it real with me but you know people are going to lie.”

The lie maybe more in relevance to the business major than Ulbrich’s status going forward at UCLA. If Ulbrich was upfront with him about the job offer, who knows if he turned it down at first or not, then what more can a program do to inform recruits than what UCLA did?

As the years go by college coaches are getting hammered more and more for not being honest with a recruit about a position coach or coordinator possibly leaving for another program. Building relationships is part of the recruiting process but picking a school over a coach should be foremost on a given recruit’s mind; the school isn’t going anywhere but chances are the coach is. Some responsibility lies on the shoulders of the recruit, parents and/or guardians of the high school student-athletes.

Smith’s announcement is scheduled for Friday with his final four choices being Texas A&M, Georgia, UCLA, and Michigan.

Photo credit: nypost.com; Roquan Smith commits to UCLA on NSD 2015.