When Roquan Smith picks a school, he won’t sign an NLI

There still isn’t a firm timetable on when four-star linebacker Roquan Smith will commit to school, but when that happens, he won’t be signing a National Letter of Intent.

Smith had originally picked UCLA over Georgia on last Wednesday, only to put off his decision after news broke that Bruin defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich would be heading to the Atlanta Falcons. As a precaution “in case something else unexpectedly happens again,” Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County coach Larry Harold told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Smith won’t be signing a letter at all.

That means that the 6-foot, 203-pound prospect will only sign a grant-in-aid agreement, which binds the school to the player — but not vice versa until the player enrolls. It allows coaches to publicly comment on the player, and can also be signed months before National Signing Day (as quarterback Josh Rosen did with UCLA last September). A player can also sign these agreements with multiple schools.

If anything, it’s surprising that more elite football recruits haven’t exercised their leverage and opted for this route, which has been taken more commonly in college basketball.

  • MPPBruin

    I don’t have a problem with him using this option. Good for him if he wants a little more protection. I hope this isn’t all about feeling burned by the Ulbrich situation though. Coaches change, situations change. At a certain point you just have to jump in and let the chips fall where they may. You can’t protect yourself from uncertainty.

  • Tommy B Low Us

    Guys should realize they cannot be guaranteed that any specific coach will remain on staff. They need to commit to the university and not the coaching staff. There is not a 100% perfect situation in anything.

    • gotroy22

      Except they are recruited by assistants who build up a relationship with them over months or even several years….get it?

      • Tommy B Low Us

        Here piggy piggy. I smell bacon.

        • gotroy22

          You and CowPolyFan3.0 are peas in a pod.

          • Tommy B Low Us

            I don’t know who that is and I could care less what you have to say. Can I get a cry on?

  • VB

    The kid sounds like an non-committal headcase. Let’s just let him go. Geez this isn’t worth the drama.

    • MPPBruin

      My guess is that there’s actually little effort going into his recruitment at this point. If that’s the case then we’re certainly better off if he winds up committing. If we’re constantly spending time on phone calls or in-home visits then we should move on.

  • Sam C

    I understand leverage, but you have to trust at some point. If he feels that Georgia is the spot just go there. If he still feels that for ucla or michigan then commit there. These are very young men making big decisions. Perfectly makes sense that this threw him off and he’s taking time to do due diligence. After that though commit and give your all, wherever it is. Good luck to him

  • ProbationU

    Good for him. He is making the right decision. He has been under intense pressure from all sides. I hope he ends up in a place that makes him happy, both on and off the field.