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Roquan Smith’s travels lead him, finally, to a Rose Bowl

The Georgia Bulldogs are bunking in a high-rise hotel in a Financial District. They’re within a mile of a Pacific Dining Car, a steakhouse featured in many a movie, and a Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, former home of a Oscars. When Roquan Smith gazes out from his lofty perch, does he think,” All this could have been mine”? 

“Like, ‘Wow, we could have been out here each day’? we haven’t unequivocally suspicion about it like that,” he pronounced Friday. “As we consider about it now, a years I’ve had during Georgia, we can’t unequivocally prognosticate myself anywhere else. Just being during Georgia and afterwards carrying a event to come out here and play in this game, it’s flattering awesome.”

To retell a serendipitous story: Smith committed to UCLA after his second revisit to a propagandize and announced his goal to enroll in Westwood during a signing-day rite during Macon County High in Montezuma. After that announcement, Georgia coaches, Mark Richt included, suggested Smith to check a career skeleton of Jeff Ulbrich, a Bruins partner who had recruited him. Sure enough, Ulbrich was withdrawal to join Dan Quinn’s Falcons staff, something he hadn’t mentioned to Smith.

The cherished linebacker wound adult signing with nobody. But he enrolled in Athens. 

Without him, Georgia wouldn’t be here, readying for a date with Oklahoma in a Rose Bowl. That’s where this story comes full circle. UCLA plays a home games in a Rose Bowl. Roquan Smith, who has turn a nation’s best defender, will perform during a bottom of a San Gabriel Mountains after all. 

Smith met a media Friday, and a man from Montezuma (pop. 3,200) – actually, he lives in Marshallville, that is half that distance – didn’t seem during all dazzled by a splendid lights of Tinseltown. He has, he allowed, been here 5 or 6 times. He has, he also allowed, been lots of places. 

“Early in facile school, we had this social-studies book,” he said. “I used to always lift it out and demeanour during places on a map and be like, ‘I wish to go there, we wish to go there.’ we started training a map, and some of a places I’ve been. There’s many other places I’d still like to go.” 

Places he has been: Mexico, Honduras, a Bahamas. Places he’d like to go: Spain, Africa, Australia, New Zealand. 

Regarding a map: “Montezuma you’ll have to wizz in a tiny bit, and generally for Marshallville, you’ll have to wizz in a whole lot more. we theory that’s usually a partial of (his enterprise to travel) – parochial boy.”

Though a tiny city isn’t though culinary delights. “There’s so many good places to eat down there, parochial nation foods. We have a Mennonite place, that is Yoder’s, and afterwards we have some tiny shed places that are flattering good as well.” 

 Roquan Smith binds court. photo
Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Roquan Smith binds court.

As for party options in a non-Macon partial of Macon County: “There’s not many to do in Montezuma. You have 3 or 4 trade lights. In Marshallville, there are no trade lights. It is what it is.” 

His graduating class, he said, numbered 118 – “and that was a biggest category in new years.” Which usually goes to show: Sometimes distance – of a town, of a school, of a chairman – means nothing. Roquan Smith has strike it big. He’ll certainly be in a NFL subsequent year, and he should strike it large there, too. He’s a good athlete, though he’s also splendid and curious. 

His credo: “Get out and do something, go believe something new.” 

Then this: “I don’t play video games.” 

His favorite end so far? “I enjoyed Honduras, we enjoyed being there and saying people and usually saying some of a struggles those people face day in and day out and meditative of how beholden we were and being means to assistance some of those people.” 

Someone asked if a universe traveler spoke any other languages. Smiling slyly, Smith said: “I try to pronounce English for a many part.” 

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker described Smith as “a singular multiple of speed, football IQ and earthy play.” Note a center part: This isn’t someone who merely runs quick and hits hard. Smith has been examination film with a coach’s eye given he was a high propagandize sophomore. “I’m seeking knowledge,” he said, “trying to get believe all via a day.” 

Then: “I’ll give we an example. If I’m about to quarrel this man and we can watch him and learn his moves and what he’s going to do in some conditions – like he gets in a corner, how he’s going to try to get out – you’ll really try to use that to your advantage. That’s usually like with examination film. You wish to make certain we know what your competition is doing. That’s like half of a battle, meaningful their tendencies.” 

Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy leader was ostensible to be a star of Friday’s talk sessions, though Baker Mayfield skipped since of what’s believed to be a cold. Roquan Smith some-more than filled a breach. He’s not usually Georgia’s best player; he’s also a Bulldogs’ best talker.

It was remarkable that a Sooners kick Oklahoma State 62-52. Smith was asked if he could suppose Georgia removing concerned in such a game. He recoiled. “No, not a shootout. That’s usually completely. … They have a good offense, though we have a good defense. That would usually be totally disrespecting.” 

Write this down: Oklahoma will not measure 62 points on Georgia. Roquan Smith won’t concede it. For all a hype issuing Mayfield’s way, a feel-good story of this Rose Bowl total to be a man from Montezuma finally display adult in Pasadena and being handed another MVP trophy. Maybe somebody will write a screenplay about it.

Article source: http://www.myajc.com/blog/mark-bradley/roquan-smith-travels-lead-him-finally-the-rose-bowl/UReBI35S9OLPRPoNI5FpLM/