MONTEZUMA — Larry Harold recently acquired a smartphone for the job he will be taking at the end of the month.
He just about wore out the flipphone he was using.
Harold, the Macon County football head coach who is in the middle of a move to Brunswick to take over as the Pirates’ head coach, was on that old flipphone nearly non-stop the past two weeks, thanks to the unusual recruiting journey Roquan Smith took.
Smith? He’s up to speed on the smartphone thing. Break some news about himself? To borrow from an old iPhone commercial, he had an app for that.
“He’s got a little bit more technology than we do,” Harold said jokingly.
A Friday morning post to Instagram confirmed what too place moments earlier: a picture of a grant-in-aid letter from Georgia, one Smith signed and sent to Athens.
The photo and accompanying statement put to rest a nine-day courtship that came about when Smith bailed out of a National Signing Day commitment to UCLA. He didn’t sign a national letter-of-intent, which technically will keep him a free agent until he enrolls at Georgia, but he and Harold both said Smith intends to honor the grant-in-aid letter.
“I’m 100 percent committed to Georgia right now,” Smith said. “That’s my main focus.”
Georgia confirmed Smith’s addition to the signing class a short time after Smith made the Instagram post. The news vaulted Georgia’s 2015 signing class, which is now presumably done, to No. 6 nationally by the 247Sports Composite.
Smith announced Feb. 4 on ESPNU that he would attend UCLA, but he backed off that commitment and reopened his recruitment a few hours later when he picked up on word that Bruins defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was considering a position with the Atlanta Falcons. Ulbrich accepted the Falcons’ linebackers coaching job two days later.
“I think it was an easy choice for him (after what happened with UCLA),” Harold said. “We left him alone over the weekend, and Tuesday he reached out to me. He told me he wasn’t going to do anything until I was back in town. We had a conference Thursday with his parents, and everyone felt good. He’s in a good place.”
The decision to not sign a national letter-of-intent follows what happened on signing day, when Smith did not immediately file paperwork. The extra time allowed Smith to avoid a situation similar to what developed at Ohio State and Texas, where the departures of assistant coaches around signing day left recruits committed to an unknown position coach.
“He just stuck to his guns,” Harold said. “The wide receivers coach at LSU just left (with Georgia’s Tony Ball accepting the job Friday), and there is still movement going on. But he’s committed to Georgia 100 percent and ready to move forward. And in case something extraordinary happens, he has options.”
Listed 29th overall in the ESPN 300 recruiting rankings, Smith was considered the No. 2 linebacker available in this year’s recruiting class behind Justin Hilliard of Cincinnati, who signed with Ohio State. He was the fifth best player from Georgia on the ESPN list, behind Westover defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (Georgia signee), North Gwinnett offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt (Clemson), Powder Springs offensive tackle Chuma Edoga (Southern Cal) and Hapeville Charter defensive end Arden Key (LSU).
Smith was also considering Michigan and Texas A&M.
“I went with the dream,” Smith said. “It was my dream to play up there (in Athens), and, shoot, I’m just going with it. There’s a good staff up there, and I’m ready to work with them. I’m just ready to go ball.”
Telegraph writer Seth Emerson contributed to this report.