With Ulbrich in limbo, linebacker Roquan Smith reopens recruitment

Roquan Smith’s recruitment won’t be ending today.

The four-star linebacker from Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County had announced his decision to attend UCLA over Georgia this morning on ESPN, but the news was soon followed by a stunner. FOX Sports reported that the Bruins’ defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich would take a job as the Atlanta Falcons’ linebackers coach.

A source indicated that Ulbrich and the Falcons were not a done deal, but the damage was done. Smith not only did not send in his letter of intent, but has now reopened his recruitment.

“He’s going to open things up with his recruiting,” Macon County coach Larry Harold told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s pretty much UGA, Michigan, and Texas A&M – and UCLA is still in it. Coach Ulbrich told him that he hasn’t signed anything yet (with the Falcons), and that he hasn’t made a decision. So I think they are still in it as well. We’re going to sit back for a couple of days and see how this thing plays out.”

UCLA head coach Jim Mora is slated to talk to the media at 4:30 p.m. today.

  • Mark

    If Ulbrich leaves and Ucla loses this kid, that is still a win for Ucla. Do people not realize how bad of a coordinator Ulbrich is? Please, please, please Falcons…take him off our hands. End the misery!

    • MPPBruin

      I can’t say that I’m super bummed about Ulbrich leaving. I just don’t want him to take a prize recruit with him.

    • Lifelong Bruin Fan

      I couldn’t agree more. Of course I would like to see Smith come to UCLA, but if losing him means we gain a qualified and capable DC, it is a big win for the team.

      • MPPBruin

        Hopefully these two things are not mutually exclusive, but it’s probably not going to work out that way.

    • Aero93

      He is so terrible, Coach Mora is going to fight to keep him on board.

  • BruinInSeattle

    The kid was a UGA recruit from the get-go…if Ulbrich leaves and Smith uses that as his reason for flipping to UGA then he is just using Ulbrich as an excuse. “Opening back up his recruitment” is just cover for changing his mind and going back to Georgia. I guarantee, if it’s not UCLA, its not the other schools, either — he’s headed to UGA. He even said, right after commiting, that he was 55% UGA and 45% UCLA and made his mind up on the spot…and any coach he ever mentioned was Mora, not Ulbrich. This shouldn’t be pinned on Jeff. I hope he goes to the Falcons, too — it would be a good career move on his part and honestly, UCLA needs a more seasoned DC coach — and if that happens and Roquan changes his mind, its not on Jeff, it’s on Roquan.

  • Toejam For Life

    How does he go to Georgia when they already have 27 Letters of Intent?

  • 92104bruinfan

    At this relatively late stage, I’d rather have Ulbrich stay for at least a second year given the Bruins endured his growing pains as a 1st year DC this past season. As for Smith, he’s probably getting it from every angle in Georgia to be a Bulldog. Hopefully Mora is able to calm him down and coax him out west. Go Bruins!

    • Sam C

      Exactly. We need some stability. Coach can get some more seasoning, has a lot of talent coming in. I don’t think there’s a ton of defensive coordinators sitting around hoping ucla calls at this minute anyhow. The Smith kid isn’t coming regardless, he’s undecided and leaning to go to Georgia . He’s just looking for an excuse.

  • EncinitasBruin

    Two separate (totally unrelated) issues here:
    1. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m bothered by this trend where coaches hold out until after kids ink NLIs before announcing a move (see Ohio State, Florida, etc). My daughter was recruited in lacrosse last year, and if the coach had told her a day after she signed that she was leaving, we’d both be ticked.

    2. We don’t need a DC who “learns on the job.” For the Bruins to truly reach Top 5 national status, we need a DC who can take the high level of talent UCLA has and get more out of it than JU. For example, can a team that’s ranked 77th in points allowed per game truly have a shot at the playoff? (In contrast, Oregon’s “porous” D was ranked 31st.)