Roquan Smith impacts the game in a variety of ways. Whether sacking the quarterback, guarding against the pass, or making a great open field tackle, Smith seems to always be around the football. In his three years at Georgia, Smith has established himself as one of the top linebackers not only in Georgia’s history but in the nation as well. The “Roquan Effect” has not only affected the teams Georgia has played, it also impacts his younger teammates especially at the linebacker position.
Smith leads by action, evident by his dominant season in 2017. Smith leads the Georgia defense with 124 total tackles and 11.5 of those for a loss. At press conferences, he is a humble guy always praising the team before himself. A focused individual, Roquan deflected any questions that dealt with the Rose Bowl game versus Oklahoma on Saturday at the National Championship media days. Smith’s sole focus was on stopping Alabama on Monday night.
“We are not really focused on that (The Rose Bowl)”, Smith said. “We are really focused on this game here in Atlanta”.
The leadership and discipline that Smith displays week in and week out will not disappear if Smith decides to forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft. Who could blame him? The 2017 Butkus Award winner is ranked very high in most mock drafts and is almost certainly guaranteed to be a 1st round pick.
However, the 6’2 225lb linebacker from Montezuma, Ga knows that this team will be well cared for. Smith has already anointed the next star for this Georgia defense, in the form of freshman defensive back Richard LeCounte.
While being interviewed at the CFP National Championship media day, Smith was asked a question by LeCounte about who he thought would be the next Georgia player to win the Butkus award. To the amusement of many in attendance, Smith stated that without question LeCounte would win the Butkus award while in his time at Georgia.
“LeCounte is a great three-down linebacker who can also shift to defensive back”, Smith laughed, “Richard LeCounte will be the next Butkus award winner”.
While both players were joking and having fun, there is reason to believe that LeCounte will develop into a star under Kirby Smart’s coaching. The hard-hitting hybrid linebacker was highly touted coming out of high school as a five-star recruit. If LeCounte wishes to become the next great Georgia linebacker and a Butkus award winner, who better to learn from than Roquan Smith?