Roquan Smith: Jeff Ulbrich said he ‘declined’ Falcons’ offer

Roquan Smith will sign scholarship papers on Friday, but judging from an interview with Rivals.com, the four-star linebacker didn’t sound keen on picking UCLA.

The Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County product had originally committed to the Bruins’ last Tuesday on ESPNU, seemingly capping a huge morning for UCLA. But news of defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s job offer from the Atlanta Falcons broke shortly afterward, prompting Smith to hold off on signing his letter of intent — and eventually stepping back to reevaluate UCLA, Georgia, Texas A&M and Michigan.

Smith clearly feels like UCLA wasn’t forthright with him during the recruiting process — and should have notified him of Ulbrich’s potential departure earlier.

From Rivals.com:

“It’s a great school and all of this and that, but Coach Ulbrich did say that Coach Dan Quinn (of the 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.”

Asked if he felt misled, Smith said: “I kind of do. For them to be my first offer, yeah. I thought they were keeping it real with me, but you know people are going to lie.”

  • UCLA owns LA Football

    Smith clearly blames Mora for his recruiting fiasco; and, Mora has yet to take full responsibility his recruiting subterfuge.

    I think Mora should think seriously about resigning. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    • Guest

      So do we give a loud boom when he commits again!?

      • Sam C

        Would have loved to have him. If he goes Georgia he goes. Good luck lets move on. I’m more concerned with getting a good defensive coord in place.

      • UCLA owns LA Football

        I doubt he recommits.

    • disqus_oisEN2ZrAH

      We got a top ten class! Filed the holes this year. Next year’s LB class is studded. Roqwan is not thick enough to play right away anyways. Take your finger off the trigger buddy.

      • UCLA owns LA Football

        So is it your contention it was ok for Mora to withhold Ulbrich info from Smith? Just asking buddy.

      • Laker Rod

        We didn’t address all needs. Look at the defensive line. We only got 1 guy Rick Wade. I still cannot believe the stupidity that exists amongst the coaching staff. I actually blame Dan Guerrero for this stupidity because Mora was not here in the past to see the faltering D lines of UCLA back in 2004 and 2005 and DG has no interest in football and he doesn’t make any suggestions.

        I knew this recruitment of D linemen problem was going to arise also with UCLA switching to a 3-4. UCLA needs to utilize more of a hybrid type 3-4 / 4-3 defense. It’s easier to stock pile D linemen this way. You bring them in thinking they are going to play rush defensive end in a 4 man front and as they grow bigger and stronger you move them inside at times. This is what happened to Datone Jones and Owa. Both 4-3 type DE’s out of high school. 6’4 245 types. Both grew to 270 / 275 3-4 DE types. Marsh was interesting in that he was an over weight 4-3 DT who slimmed down and was a very effective 3-4 DE.

        Even Keenan Graham came to UCLA as a 6’3 225 4-3 DE. He put on 30 pounds to become a pass rush specialist 3-4 DE.

        Have people not noticed our pass rushing sacks have suffered since we don’t have these types of guys? Eddie Vanderdoes, Kenneth Clark, and Ellis McCarthy types are more for run blocking which we lacked in the past. We need a combo of both.

        And we can’t have two true sophomores starting on the Dline. Any time you have multiple young guys as starters the defense falters.

        • disqus_oisEN2ZrAH

          K. Orijiorke and Takkarist McK, Will take care of our dline for the next two years. Dont sleep on these dudes they are beasts.

          • Laker Rod

            Orjioke and McKinley are redshirt juniors!!! We may even lose both of them after 2015 if they have good years. This is my point! Guys need to stay that extra year….and even still both are gone after 2016. Take a look at the roster and depth chart. It’s start to get very thin after 2016.

            In 2017, we have Dickerson Sr, Tuioti-Mariner Sr, and Taua RJr and Rick Wade RSo. That’s it. 4 guys. All the rest of the guys must come from the 2016 and 2017 class. This is just a disaster waiting to happen. All it takes is one injury. Some are projecting Najee Toran and Carl Hulick to move to defense. I hope this happens. We need like 5 D line guys for the 2016 class.

    • cmwilliamsd

      Urban Meyer had two coaches leave the day after signing day. I don’t hear anyone crying in the Midwest. Said nothing to recruits. Do you want him gone also? Who do you want to coach the team? KD or RN? Maybe you should resign from your job. I completely disagree with your post.

      • UCLA owns LA Football

        That’s ok, I’m not as offended as you are that I suggest Mora resign for recruiting subterfuge.

        What Meyer does is Ohio St’s concern not UCLA’s.

        Mora knew that Ulbrich would be leaving and failed to alert Smith. Smith was stoked to commit to UCLA

        Read Smith’s side of the story and Mora’s lack of transparency seems calculated and predatory.

        My opinion is just that. If I’m Danny Boy, I’m in touch with Rocky Long.

        Magic is right, it’s ok to make mistakes but those mistakes must be acknowledged. Mora, as far I as I’m aware, hasn’t acknowledged squat in the Smith recruiting fiasco.

        • jameskatt

          This is all speculation and paranoia and evil.
          There is no fiasco.
          Good luck to Smith.
          Go Bruins.
          Coach Mora for life!

        • gotroy22

          How do you know Mora knew Ulbrich was leaving? I missed that part of the story.

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            Because Dan Quinn called LOI Eve and requested permission from Mora to interview Ulbrich.

            At that point in time, the possibly Ulbrich might leave was on the table that Mora should have given Smith a heads up.

            Fairly simple 22, even you can understand.

          • BruinInSeattle

            that’s ridiculous. until he has a firm decision, he shouldn’t say anything.

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            What’s ridiculous other than the bone you continue to chew.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            Because Dan Quinn called LOI Eve and requested permission from Mora to interview Ulbrich.

            Mora said, “No.”

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            Where is ULbrich now employed?

        • BruinInSeattle

          Smith was NOT stoked. In fact, right after he chose UCLA he was interviewed and said he was 55% UGA and 45% UCLA and that he made his mind up on the spot…his “mind said UCLA but his heart said UGA”. From his remarks, I always felt he was having second thoughts anyway and just used Ulbrich as an excuse to change his mind. Heck, he could have made all the unflattering stuff about UCLA up just to justify his actions — none of us really know.

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            Your trolley has jumped its tracks Seattle. Any reputable court Jester would label your thread witless hearsay.

      • EncinitasBruin

        This was clearly mishandled. Mora needs to learn from it and not repeat it, but no one needs to resign. Doesn’t represent the best of UCLA.

        • UCLA owns LA Football

          So it’s ok for UCLA’s Head FB Coach to resort to recruiting subterfuge in the interest of the greater good of UCLA’s FB team.

          Is that what you mean say EB? Would you play poker with a known card cheat?

          • EncinitasBruin

            No, to me it’s deeply troubling. JU flat out lied to the kid, so it’s good he’s moved on. I think the entire situation stinks, and it does not cast Mora in a good light at all. I only disagree with you that he should be fired over it. He should apologize publically to Smith, and admit that the situation was mishandled.

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            Didn’t say Mora s/b fired. Although I believe Mora recruiting black eye is grounds for termination, I do think Mora should consider resigning. Whether UCLA accepts his resignation is another story.

            Mora had every opportunity to do the right thing and he didn’t.

          • gotroy22

            Ha Ha, this is why ruin football will always be second rate. You wimps run off your best coaches over trivial stuff. You haven’t had a decent basketball team since your idiot AD Pete Dalis ran Harrick off for a minor recruiting infraction taking two recruits to Montys for dinner. Now you want Mora gone over this? What idiots you are.

          • Tommy B Low Us

            At least you clown college dorks are good for a laugh. That is about it. Can I get a cry on??

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            Mr Dalis didn’t mind the recruiting infractions (Lopez Bros.) so much as he minded Harrick repeatedly lying to Dalis the infraction didn’t happen.

            UCLA is UCLA and SUCC is SUCC.

          • ProbationU

            Collins twins…not Lopez. Harrick falsified an expense report because he had too many people at dinner at Monty’s. It wasn’t the meeting with the Collins twins that was the problem.

            There was longstanding friction between Dalis and Harrick. He found a reason/excuse to get rid of him and gifted us Steve Lavin.

          • BruinInSeattle

            What was reported isn’t necessarily the only reasons he was let go. Did you follow the rest of Harrick’s career? Everywhere he went, scandal followed and he never repeated the success he had at UCLA, so maybe it wasn’t even the coaching that won the natty in 95 but the players. As for Dalis firing him — right thing to do. Character might not matter much at Troy, but it does at UCLA.

          • EncinitasBruin

            Harrick was a good coach, but I never trusted him ethically. He and his sons made me nervous. And you are right: It wasn’t that he took a couple of players to Monty’s. It was because he lied about it. The first offense is not grounds for dismissal. The second most definitely is.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            You’re right about Harrick.

          • ProbationU

            GoTroy…usually you are fairly reasonable. We did have 3 consecutive Final 4’s after Harrick left, so there were a few “decent” teams after 1995. What would a Trojan know about basketball?

          • EncinitasBruin

            Agree with Probation U below. Troy, you are one of the more level-headed Cardinal people to post here. Calling the Bruins a “second rate” program is beneath you, and the facts don’t bear that out. Four years ago? Yes. Now? Our program is on a higher and stronger trajectory than SC’s. Will SC bounce back? Undoubtedly. But the Bruin Brand of football is no longer “soft” and “powder blue.” As, of course, you know from the past three beat-downs we’ve put on the Trojans.

          • BruinInSeattle

            What Mora or Ulbrich MAY or MAY NOT have done (we are taking at face value the assertions of a kid in Georgia over the presumed innocence of our coaches) did not break any rules or result in any infractions and are, in fact, common practice in the NCAA so why on earth should Mora even consider for a moment resigning? I’m not sure you are even a USC troll anymore. I think you probably hate both schools and just like to stir stuff up…maybe a RuinsNation guy?

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            In your unqualified opinion.

            So you’ve asked a friend to pick you up at a airport at such and such a time. However, you’ve decided to stay another day, but you don’t bother to give the friend a heads up and he shows up at the Airport at the appointed time.

            Since this isn’t strictly against the law, no harm no foul on your part.

            Your friend takes one in the shorts, but so what, that’s his problem. Chances are Seattle (Why Petey Why) you’re a professional D*ck.

          • BruinInSeattle

            Well, in my unqualified opinion, your analogy is lacking. Should I resign from driving after my jerk move?

            I never said what Ulbrich/Mora MAY have done wasn’t ethically questionable. What I said is it’s neither an infraction nor uncommon so why on earth should Mora resign? The problem lies with the contract of NLIs and how they are entirely geared towards the Universities, with little to no rights/benefit for the high school kids, and encourages this type of behavior from ALL college coaches.

            I think you are insane to want or expect a resignation from Mora. In fact, it smells of desperation — you know the Bruins have a great coach now and so you want to get rid of him.

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            The major point Seattle is this: Mora was aware in plenty of time to consult with Smith through the NCAA, or UCLA compliance Dept., or both entities in conf. call to alert Smith Ulbrich might move to the NFL – recruiting mess avoided, everything upfront and above board.

            Mora, in my opinion, fumbled the ball all by himself.

          • BruinInSeattle

            well, my point is you’re wrong and I’m moving on to the next controversy. good luck to you and Go Bruins!

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            In your unqualified opinion.

            I think you’re horse’s a*s, but that is just my opinion. How about them Seahawks!!!

    • jameskatt

      Nestor, I think you need to go back to your swamp. Mora is coach for life as far as I’m concerned. Your solutions would simply take UCLA to the bottom of the pile.

      • UCLA owns LA Football

        Smells like a Clownster.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          Not fair to James, and you have seemed a little anxious lately to jettison Mora.

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            No where on this blog will you find me advocating Mora be jettisoned. I’ve said he should consider resigning.

      • EncinitasBruin

        James, do you know for certain that Owns is Nestor?

        If so, here’s a message for you Mr. Nestor: You are a bully and a coward who hides behind your Mod power over at the Hitl*r Youth site otherwise known as BN. You banned me twice because you felt threatened by my candid opinion, which didn’t fall in line with you and the rest of the Greek Parade.

        Now, if you are NOT Nestor, forget everything I just said.

        • UCLA owns LA Football

          EB, I’m not Nestor, nor I have I ever been a Nestor. In fact, I have no clue who Nestor is, but he sure did tick you off.

          • EncinitasBruin

            Sorry Owns. Yeah, the other guy is a tyrannical moderator on BeuinsNation.

    • Tommy B Low Us

      It is real easy for you to sit behind your computer and throw around your opinion. You really have NO idea about the details of what happened. You need to stop with the speculation. You also seem to be very easily swayed by what the biased articles suggest. If the kid wants to come to UCLA… he will. If not, then good luck to him. There is not a 100% perfect situation in anything.

      The whole thing seems to be a result of bad timing. Ulbich has a right to better himself and his family. Smith should have had several coaches at UCLA he was comfortable with…not just Ulbich. If he was coming just for Ulbich, then that is a Smith issue not a UCLA issue.

      • UCLA owns LA Football

        But had Mora given Smith a heads up on Ulbrich possible intentions, Smith makes another choice and UCLA doesn’t receive a recruiting Black Eye.

        One reason we don’t know all the details is Mora has been less than forthcoming about those pesky details.

        You have your opinion, I have my opinion.

        • Tommy B Low Us

          I believe Mora has been more than forthcoming with what he is obligated to share. He really does not have to share any details of a kid’s recruitment. Furthermore, it is probably an NCAA violation to share anything with the general public on recruiting. This is between smith and the UCLA coaching staff. If the kid really wants to come he will show up.

          There are NCAA rules about when a kid can be contacted during recruitment. I think Mora received the news at last minute, was unable to contact smith within that time period, and was probably not under the assumption smith was coming to UCLA for Ulbrich only. Mora probably felt smith would sign based on the entire coaching staff and university.

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            Ok.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            Mora’s kept his word to the team.

    • WEB_Dupree

      Ha, and I thought you posted crazy stuff on Wolf’s blog! You sure got these guys riled up. This is one of the longest threads ever on Wang’s blog.

      • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

        (Really, it’s Ulbrich’s fault. And possibly, Mora’s.)

        • WEB_Dupree

          What’s with the parentheses lately? Does that signify whispering?

          • EncinitasBruin

            IT’S BETTER THAN SHOUTING!

          • WEB_Dupree

            You’ll have to speak up, sonny! Can’t hear a word!

      • ProbationU

        He can post crazy stuff here too! He isn’t well informed but he does make a lot of noise. He should get a job as a reporter. They just go with rumor and innuendo too.

        • UCLA owns LA Football

          Probation loves to hold hands with Clownster’s and pet each another.- a weakling SUCC collaborator as it were.

          • ProbationU

            Your problem is that you cannot make a cogent point based upon facts. Nor can you understand them. You are an embarrassment to intelligent Bruins everywhere.

            So…here it is:

            Find documented proof that Mora lied about anything.

            Also, if the call from Quinn to Mora was on the eve of signing day, as you say, then how could Mora have contacted the recruit during a no contact period without violating NCAA rules?

            And it there is supposed to be no contact, how come Georgia is not in trouble for contacting him?

            Deal with some actual facts and people might think you are more than a tool. You spend hour upon hour, day after day, without taking a break on the SC site. And most of the time, you are just making a fool of yourself.

        • Jethro G Sabbath

          You keep this up and Owns is going to start calling you names!

          • UCLA owns LA Football

            JG and Probation: their combined wisdom wouldn’t fill the head of a pin.

  • BruinInSeattle

    Well, that’s ugly for the program. Still 110% behind Mora and the University, but if the situ went down the way the kids says it went down, that’s a blackeye…I don’t even CARE what all the other universities and big name coaches are doing…UCLA should act with class. I understand that sometimes you gotta be shrewd, but this was an unforced error…totally unnecessary…the accusation of lying by Ulbrich, manipulation to sign early and lack of communication by Mora all should be lessons learned.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Well said.

    • UCLA owns LA Football

      A well conceived thread.

      • BruinInSeattle

        Never said he was…but apparently he didn’t follow his own better judgement on this one but instead followed the herd. For a guy who trades on his integrity as much as Mora does, this one is here going to stick with him, both personally and with his detractors

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          He needs to address it, now.

      • Steve Starck

        Yes he is. Only rookie recruiters try to tweet recruits when they’re not supposed to and lie about their account being “hacked” (another rookie move)

  • uclawarren

    Playing devil’s advocate here (or am I playing angel’s advocate, since all of you think Mora was in the wrong?), but is it possible that Ulbrich told Mora he was going to stay, so Mora tried to get this kid to sign, only to be told later that he decided to leave? Seems unlikely, I guess, but it is a possibility…

  • Aero93

    I’ll wait until Mora is allowed to comment. I’m sure his take is a bit different.

  • http://www.ocstyle.com/ OCBrewin

    I admire the kid for the way he handled this.

    I give Coach Ulbrich a D(ouchbag) for the way he handled things.

    Jim should have reached out to the kid…but for all we know Coach Ulbrich may have told Mora everything was A OK.

    Coach Ulbrich lied to the kid.

    Coach Ulbrich probably told Mora, that he was staying at UCLA, as well…remember the NSD presser…Mora said he’d fight to keep Coach Ulbrich. Clearly Coach Mora felt that Coach Ulbrich would stay.

    As it turns out, all worked out fine(No more Ulbrich & Roquan goes to UGA – his dream school).

    • MPPBruin

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Coach Ulbrich “declined the offer” was actually “I didn’t accept the offer”. It’s entirely possible that events were happening so quickly that Ulbrich didn’t have time to think it through yet.

      • Tommy B Low Us

        That is what I suspect happened here. The whole thing was a result of bad timing.

      • EncinitasBruin

        That’s a good point. Wish Mora would comment already. Perhaps he’s waiting for Smith to make his decision before he gives his side of the story. I hope he doesn’t just breeze past this, though. I think Mora needs to explain his side of things.

  • MPPBruin

    A couple of things stand out to me about this story.

    1) This is Smith’s version of the events. Mora’s and Ulbrich’s might be different.

    2) Assuming that Smith’s version is true, lying to kids to get them to school is not OK. I’d rather risk losing a recruit by being honest than trying to get him here by duping him. There are negative stories all over my yahoo front page about UCLA. This isn’t good for the future.

    3) I still can’t get past the idea that holding out for one coach doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially an assistant. With the HC staying the vision for the team and the role the player will have will largely stay the same. I know that recruiters build relationships, but once you get to the school a lot of different people are going to be there to support you. At a certain point you just have to go off to college and be a man. UCLA is more than Ulbrich.

    • gotroy22

      It’s official! Your selfish jerk coach Ulbrich cost the ruins a prize recruit. And obviously he lied to the kid saying he “turned it down”.

      • ProbationU

        Yes, apparently he did. I don’t think anyone thought he was going to choose UCLA originally. I don’t think that even Mora or Ulbrich knew he was committing to UCLA on signing day.

        It is time for some changes in the LOI process that should be of more benefit for the players.

        1. Move signing day back further from the Super Bowl. There tends to be movement in the coaching ranks around that time.

        2. If a kid commits to a school on signing day and his position coach then takes another job within a certain time period, give the kid a month to change his mind and sign elsewhere.

        3. Make the LOI slightly less binding for ALL recruits. If a recruit wants out of his commitment, let him out of it and make him redshirt the first year and do not take away a year of eligibility, or reinstate that year if he is on track to graduate. Something along those lines.

        There is a LOT of speculation about what happened in this case but not a lot of facts. Most of the opinions expressed are based upon rumor and innuendo. The most troubling part about this is if our staff lied to him about majoring in business when there is no business major. If they simply didn’t know about that, they should have found out and corrected the error.

      • Tommy B Low Us

        It is official. You clown college dorks will continue to prove yourselves to be morons. Can I get a cry on?

  • BruinInSeattle

    I think if Ulbrich had been out looking for another job or Mora was about to fire him then yeah, they should have called all the affected recruits and been honest with them — even though no other coach in America would have done so, figuing a kid commits to the school and head coach, not the under-coaches.

    HOWEVER, ulbrich WASN’T out looking for another job, NOR was Mora going to fire him. The Quinn called them the NIGHT BEFORE SIGNING DAY. It’s not as if this was in the works for a long time. Don’t understand all the scorn. Perhaps some mistakes were made in the way things were handled during a very stressful and fast moving time, maybe the kid mis-characterized what he heard (as MPPBruin said, maybe the kid heard “I haven’t accepted the offer” as declining the offer) or maybe the kid flat out had a change of mind (his heart was already at UGA) and is using Ulbrich and UCLA as fall guys. Whatever. I don’t see malice on Ulbrich’s part.

    The whole system of NLIs need to change.

    • Guest

      Last year a friend of mine called me and told me there was an opening at her firm. I was unhappy, but not actively looking for a change. I certainly didn’t tell my boss at the time that I had an interview somewhere else. I’m of the mindset that you don’t tell anyone anything until its locked. It’s different when you’re talking about recruits, but I’m not sure if I would have acted too much differently than Ulbrich did.

    • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

      Good points.

  • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

    wow, a college asst coach changing jobs after the season??? big news. 90% of them are either changing jobs or TALKING about changing jobs every year.

    if this kid is too chicken to leave his mama in GA, then he should just shut up and stay home and quit crying to the media….did he want his face caressed??? no one goes to a school for the Asst Coach….unless they are a fool or have no one counseling him….and boy does this kid have people counseling him!!!

    sounds to me like his HS coach wants to be a big hero and keep the kid in GA.

    • Jethro G Sabbath

      Geez Chuck,
      Even Owns is admitting to wrongdoing in Westwood. You, on the other hand, see fit to hurl insults at a high school kid.

      I’m really confused about the classy cadre now!

      • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

        that’s Cadre with a Capital C.

        yeah we’re classy, but we’re also tough as nails!!

        the kid’s a mama’s boy. we want Butkis and Lott caliber LB’s not mama’s boys!

      • UCLA owns LA Football

        JG: “I’m really confused” – I guess the cat’s out of the bag on JG. Who knew?

  • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

    Why the moderation, Jack?

  • Steve Starck

    A bunch of lying coaches trying to cheat an unsuspecting young man of his future. Didn’t even let him know that his major wasn’t even offered. They must be feeling desperate over there at Westwood Community College. Recruits will now know that they run a shady program over there and the gutless coaches will say anything to trick a recruit into going there. These types of stories get around fast in recruiting circles.

  • Roquan Smith

    WAH!! I wanted Ulbrich to be my personal coach FOREVER and EVER!!! Why can’t my dreams all come TRUE???

    WAH!! Momma said UCLA is the DEVIL!!

    (WAH! now my diaper is all pooh-pooh!)