Linebacker recruit's high school coach blasts recruiting process
Roquan Smith, a four-star linebacker from Montezuma, Ga., took some heat for how his National Signing Day went. After committing to UCLA on national television, Smith almost immediately reopened his recruiting process after learning that UCLA’s defensive coordinator was leaving for a job with the Atlanta Falcons.
Smith’s high school coach is firing back at critics. Larry Harold, coach at Macon County High School, took aim at those who say a player should commit to a school and not to a coach in an article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Here’s what Harold had to say in the article:
“I just want to tell those people this, because maybe they don’t know: If you’ve never played sports or anything like that, you are more than just a coach to these kids. You’re their dad, their mom, and their extended family. You’re everything to these kids. So when they’re going to get recruited by the next coach, to find the person who is going to be charge of the next four years of their life, they are looking for the same things.
“So how can these guys (college coaches) talk about the people and the relationships — and then you get these kids signed and then you bail on them at the first time you get the opportunity? Look at all these stories after signing day.
“You can’t tell me that these head coaches aren’t telling these assistants that they know are leaving – don’t tell anybody until after signing day and then we’ll announce it. That’s deception and that dishonesty. And, most importantly, it’s not fair to the kids.”
Smith, the No. 5 outside linebacker in the country, did not submit his National Letter of Intent to UCLA, so he’s still free to sign with another program. Georgia was considered a favorite to land Smith on NSD, but the linebacker is now reportedly considering Texas A&M and Michigan.
The AJC cited several other cases where players was misled before signing with a team. Ohio State was called into question after its running backs coach left for the Chicago Bears the day after NSD, while a Texas signee was upset when Longhorns defensive line coach Chris Rumph left for Florida. There’s also the situation Rumph’s move created at Florida, with five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson “holding out” on sending in his LOI to the Gators.
With the NCAA considering moving to an “early signing period” that would give recruits a 72-hour window in December to send in their LOIs, a policy that could come into effect as soon as next year, issues like this could be avoided in the near future.