The 2018 NFL Draft has seen a slew of exceptional players, with their dreams of playing in the NFL finally becoming a reality, drafted. One of them is Roquan Smith, a former 4-star recruit and the latest recipient of the Butkus Award. He played college football in the Univesity of Georgia where his athletic trait is top notch and was drafted by the Chicago Bears. Though he is yet to make his pro debut, he is already considered as one of the best defensive rookies in the game with the makings of a Pro Bowl level talent.
Who Is Roquan Smith?
Roquan Smith is the eighth overall pick by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He is one of the top high school linebackers recruits in the nation.
The Bear’s first-round draft pick was born in Montezuma, Georgia, the United States on April 8, 1997. He played football in Macon County High School, Montezuma where he was a standout leading to universities noticing and coming for him including UCLA and Georgia. He received a scholarship from UCLA and initially committed to play for the Bruins on signing day but reneged when former Bruins defensive coordinator, Jeff Ulbrich took a job with the Atlanta Falcons the day after Signing Day, instead deciding to pitch his tent with the University of Georgia’s Bulldogs.
As a true freshman, Roquan appeared in 12 games, recording 20 tackles and 95 in his sophomore year where he started 10 0f 13 games. Roquan stepped up his play some notch in his penultimate year in 2017 where he was named Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press after leading Georgia in tackles (112) and sacks (5½) and was a catalyst in the Bulldog winning the SEC championship game for the first time in 12 years.
An economics major, he was supposed to earn a degree in December 2018 but decided to turn pro by entering the 2018 NFL Draft forfeiting his final year of eligibility but not without setting the record as one of the most successful and decorated defensive players in modern history, with elite athletic qualities at that.
He was named the MVP of the SEC Championship Game as well as played with the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship Game in 2017. The linebacker also won the Butkus Award which is given to top linebackers in the country. He also became the first Georgia Bulldog to win the award since its inception in 1985.
Being of the stuff champions are made of, he was picked in the first round, eighth overall by the Chicago Bears in April 2018. An effective linebacker with elite athletic ability, plus intelligence, and an ability to be an effective cover linebacker on passing downs, his full potentials are, however, yet to be utilized.
Roquan Smith Family
Roquan affectionately called Quan by his family was born to his loving parents, Roderick Smith and Shaquana Thomas in their close-knit Montezuma, Macon County community. His father was a construction worker in Macon which is an hour away from his hometown while his mother worked at Fort Valley State University in Oglethorpe, a town next to Montezuma.
He has three siblings; an older brother Rod Smith; and a younger sister and brother, Tyanna and Omar Richards. Due to his parents’ job which takes them away from home for the most part of the day, Roquan had a lot of other relatives step in during his growing up years to assist in his upbringing. They include his grandparents, Nathaniel Lamb and Betty Smith, aunt, Shaquanda Baker and a host of other well-meaning community members including football coach, Harold, Macon County principal Rickey Edmond, family friend Roy Yoder whom he worked for digging wells, and Glory Story who refers to as his aunt though they are not related.
In addition, his community sees him as a worthy ambassador and is very proud of him notably, for pushing it to the national front as well as supports him in every way possible, and for them, there’s only one Roquan Smith.
Height, Weight, Body Stats
Roquan has been lauded for his excellent speed and athleticism for the linebacker position with sideline to sideline range as well as his outstanding leadership skills, football IQ, and great instincts which help him to diagnose correctly where the ball is headed. As a teen, he was considered bigger than kids his age by folks, however, his physical attributes aren’t the ideal features for a linebacker. As a result, he struggles to get off blocks once the lineman reaches him.
His short arms and small hands explain his trouble locking out and shedding big blockers and his inability to disengage some seemingly big guys, limiting his performance. Nevertheless, he does possess the quickness and speed to keep him from being mauled.
Anyway, here are his body stats:
Height: 6′ 1″ (1.85 m)
Weight: 236 lbs
Arms Length: 32″
Hands size: 10