Roquan Smith will make announcement on Friday
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