Florida fits Smith’s criteria

Roquan Smith is ranked a top-100 overall recruit by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. (Photo by Varsity Preps)

When Rivals100 linebacker Roquan Smith visited Florida in late January, he didn’t know what to expect.

It was the first trip to Gainesville for the Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County prospect, and he was just trying to take it all in.

Smith returned to UF this past Saturday and walked away with a much better feel for the school and football program.

“I really got a lot out of this visit,” he said. “Just being able to watch them practice and chill with coach (D.J.) Durkin and coach (Will) Muschamp.

“I also learned about the great business degree they have, which is want I want to major in. So overall it was a great day. Gainesville is just a great place, family-oriented place.”

Linebacker is a major need for the Gators this year after not signing any in their last class, and the coaches stressed to Smith how much of a priority he is to them.

“There’s a great opportunity for me down there, and that’s all I need,” he said. “But with that being said, I feel like I can compete with anybody. I believe I’m one of the best linebackers in the country. That’s why I think I can come in and play early with my ability.”

Smith was joined on his trip Saturday by fellow Georgia native Adonis Thomas of Lawrenceville Central Gwinnett, who is also one of Florida’s top linbacker targets and named UF his leader following their visit.

The two forged a friendship back in Decemeber and would like to attend the same college.

“He’s a great player,” Smith said of Thomas. “We always talk about playing with each other on the next level and doing big things. We talked about it all weekend as a matter of fact. We both see that Florida is a great opportunity for us, with him playing the Sam (strongside) and me playing the Will (weakside).”

Smith also likes the idea of playing under Muschamp and believes he will turn things around in 2014.

“Muschamp always has a great defense there at Florida since he’s been there,” Smith said. “It’s ranked in the top 10 every year. The offensive struggles, I understand that. The quarterback went down. Look at Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers. He went down and they had a seven-game losing streak. So the quarterback is a key thing. I think Jeff Driskel and Florida will have a good season. Look out for them.”

Smith hopes to announce a group of six finalists before his senior season but said Auburn, Florida and UCLA stand out early on. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder plans to make his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game or on signing day, depending on whether he enrolls early.

“In a school,” Smith said, “I’m just looking for a great place that has a family-oriented program and gives me a great education and an opportunity to play as a true freshman.”

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  1. At 6’2″ and 205 lbs., he needs for focus on becoming an early enrollee and get in the weight and dinning rooms a lot to play in the SEC. It would be nicer if he came in at 6’2″ and 220 lbs. in order to play early.

  2. Snowprint,
    You were wrong about Driskel yesterday. He’s a good leader and will continue demonstrating it this year. I don’t think you understand what leadership is. Not surprising by your clown posts.

  3. Driskell will not last the season. His injury was severe and his play is mediocre at best. Grier will be in there before week 6 if not sooner. I am one of the few that hopes Muschamp succeeds. If he doesn’t he will be fired and all this early recruiting won’t mean a thing because these guys will run for the hills as well as some of the current players. He too won’t last the season if the Gators get off to a slow start. They will want to have a replacement for the all important recruiting process immediately after the season. Although replacing a coach midseason is never easy. One to watch…..Jon Gruden. That would be ideal.

  4. Gator Todd, I don’t think it will be because of an injury, but Driskel being his usual self that will send him to the bench. I just don’t think he can play and the coaches will have no choice but to bench him. We heard the same B.S. from the coaches about how improved he was last year and then he threw for his usual 150 yards against Toledo, stunk it up against Miami, and threw a pick six against Tennessee before his injury mercifully ended another year of mediocrity. Muschamp and Roper, I hope, want to keep their jobs and keeping Driskel as the starter is not going to help them do so. At least Roper was smart, like Pease, and got a guaranteed three year deal, so he’ll get paid regardless.

  5. Hahaha. Snowprint again with the stats out of context and no analysis. Driskel LED us to an 11-2 season in 2012. As a starter we are 12-3 with him and 3-7 without him. In 2013 we didn’t show nearly a quarter of our offense against Toledo and showed off our running game. We ran the ball 48 times compared to 22 passes, none of which were very deep, and the one deep pass was spot on from Driskel, but was dropped by the receiver. I’d like to see any QB get tons of yardage with that going for them. Against Miami, everyone loves to blame Driskel, but for te terrible day everyone claims it was, 22-33 for 291 yards and a TD and a TD run isn’t bad. Not bad at all. Everyone loves to pin that game on Driskel because of 3 turnovers. Go back and watch the tape. The fumble was on the linemen or not protecting his blindside. Not much a QB can do when you get hit from behind while you’re trying to throw the ball. AND I still say his ar was going forward so it should’ve been an incomplete pass. Move on to that pick 6 you love to talk about with UT. Again the line didn’t block and he got hit, AND HIS LEG BROKEN, while trying to throw the ball. Go back and watch the tape. The receiverhad a step on the defender and if Driskel’s able to place it right that’s a complete pass. But he gets hit from behind and the ball goes behind the receiver and gets picked off. I’d like to see you make a great pass while your leg is breaking beneath you! So if you look at things unbiased (I know very hard for you snow but just try) considering the gameplan for Toledo and the fact that Driskel got injured against UT, he only really had one game in 2012. Do you really think that’s enough data to judge how well a guy’s progressed?? Everyone has bad games! Driskel did against UGA, but played differently the entire 2012 season. Manning did in the Super Bowl! Is he a terrible stupid QB?? I highly doubt anyone would say that. So why is one game not enough for everyone else, but it’s enough to condemn Driskel? Because blind hate has become more popular than being an actual fan. That’s not nearly enough evidence to judge how well he’s progressed. So the only thing we have to go off of is how he’s played in spring practice. And he’s played very well, distancing himself miles ahead of the other QBs. So that tells us one of two things, either you’re wrong about Driskel, or all of our QBs are utterly terrible and we should just abandon throwing the ball and run it every play. Either way your solution doesn’t work Driskel’s our best running QB so it’d make much more sense for him to be the QB if all we were gonna do it run it. Conclusion, Snowprint is dead wrong and should close his mouth instead of opening it and removing all doubt about how smart he really is.

  6. I will say that about Driskell when they realize he is useless and will notvget them over the hump. In a perfect world I would love for Driskell to take every snap so Grier could redshirt. Depth at QB will not allow that to happen, and Driskells play will speed up Griers progress. Sorry you guys can’t handle the truth but seniors coming off a serious injury who were no good to begin with are not going to suddenly have a miraculous turnaround. Use your head guys. I want it to work out but what indicates to anyone that is goung to happen? Nothing.

  7. By the way Gruden almost took the Texas job. Why wouldn’t he take this job? Its just as good or actually better for him because he is a Florida native. The man said himself he is very open to coaching in college.

  8. By that whatever guy, The thing you fail to notice is that Driskel never has had a game where you would say to yourself, “He’s a great quarterback.” I say his usual 150 yards because he hasn’t got the skill to be a passer. You say they kept the offense simple for Toledo. What about the Sugar Bowl when Pease tried to open up the offense? Driskel sucked and was the reason UF lost to a heavy underdog, Louisville. Thinking he played well at Miami shows that you are completely delusional. To say Driskel has led the Gators to anything is ludicrous. If Driskel was so good, why was the big question, going into 2013, whether the Gators would see any improvement at quarterback? Everyone asked that. Driskel is a mediocre quarterback and, so far, there is no evidence to the contrary. Maybe I’m wrong and he will become a good quarterback this year. But from the reports at practice, he sounds the same. He still has a big problem with being consistently accurate. It’s not saying much that he’s the best quarterback the Gators have right now since there is only a true freshman and Morningweg. We’ll see who’s right in the fall. I’m confident that Driskel will continue to suck and The Gator’s offense will continue to be mediocre if he is the starter. I just don’t think you understand that the most important things a quarterback need to do are things Driskel is lousy at. He’s inaccurate, doesn’t know how to read defense, and falls apart when pressured. At least we won’t hear any more excuses for Driskel when he bombs again, I would hope that people will face reality. It took a while for people to realize that Brantley was a bust, it’s taking a lot longer for people to realize that Driskel is a bust as well. After the trip to Alabama, I hope everyone sees the light.

  9. Primo, read the paragraph above. It’s detailed evidence that indicates Driskel will work. 12-3 with him vs 3-7 without him. Give me evidence to the contrary and maybe we can talk. Until then you’re just a hater

  10. Snow, this is literally me reading your post, “What?? HAHAHAHHAHA”. It literally is laughable. You continue to say there’s evidence Driskel is terrible without bringing any to the table. GIVE ME SOMETHING. Stats, facts, data, ANYTHING!! Driskel cost us the Lousiville game??? Are you kidding me?? That may be the dumbest most biased thing you’ve said!! You do realize the first pick six that gave Louisville all the momentum was a pass right in the receivers arm that he dropped, it bounced in the air and the defender caught it right? You do realize our offense scored on par for what it was scoring all year, and it was the defense who uncharacteristically wasn’t playing up to par right? I mean come on man. That’s ludicrous! Did you even watch a game that year! As far as Miami, tell me what’s bad about 22/33 for 291 yards and 2 total TDs. I’ waiting.. Driskel is inaccurate?? You’re insane! That’s one of the things people love about him is he’s so accurate! Falls apart under pressure? Here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub6cQh67Po4 . Tell me exactly how he’s falling apart from 0:26-1:17, at 1:55, 2:18, 2:24, 2:47, 2:55, 3:07- 3:34. I mean did you ever watch him at all or did you just have someone make a highlight tape of all his worst plays? Watch some tape for once. His biggest problem (and probably only real problem) was he struggled reading defenses and the mental side of the game. Kurt Roper, a guy who just joined this team, know’s he only has 1 year to make it work, and has no reason for prior bias, a man who has been around the game a long time, is a proven OC and QB coach, knows the QB position like few others, and has been around some truly elite QBs, has said that Dirskel has that down now. So until you can give me your resume and it’s as impressive as Roper’s, you’ve got no legs to stand on. Next time you come back bring something resembling facts or logic or data or anything so you can have anything to stand on.