Roquan Smith never envisioned himself leaving Georgia as a junior

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Roquan Smith brings down Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham for one of his 13 tackles for Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia’s football team had a historic season in 2017, and DawgNation was along for the entire ride. The Bulldogs’ season will be celebrated March 15 with DawgNation Appreciation 2018. Some of the stars of the 2017 team will be on hand for the celebration, including running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and linebackers Roquan Smith and Davin Bellamy.

One of the big reasons it was such a special season was the play of Smith. The junior from Montezuma, Ga., won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker after leading the SEC with 137 tackles and leading the Bulldogs with 6.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback pressures. Smith seemed to play best in Georgia’s biggest games, earning MVP honors in the SEC Championship Game and being named defensive MVP in the Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma. He was a consensus, first-team All-American. Not surprisingly, after such a productive and accolade-filled season, Smith opted to enter the NFL draft, where he currently projects as a first-round selection.

In preparation for his DawgNation Appreciation appearance on March 15, Smith wrote this letter to thank Georgia fans for their support during his career:

Dear Dawg Nation,

Being a Georgia Bulldog means the world to me. Just the opportunity to go to such a prestigious university that many people would die to attend is a blessing. And then to be cheered on each and every week by the best fans in the nation, all pouring into every stadium we went to every week in their red and black, is a very special feeling. I’m just honored to have been a part of it.

Everybody knows I was close to going to UCLA coming out of high school. Now, I really couldn’t envision myself being anywhere else other than the University of Georgia. The opportunities that I had here and the amazing things that happened are pretty awesome. I’m just thankful for everything the university has offered me in three years here. It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am to be a Bulldog, and now to be in position to live out my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.

I really never saw myself coming out of college as a junior. Coming out of high school, I knew I was a good player but I knew I needed some development, needed to get bigger, so I never really thought about being in college only three years. That kind of surprised me. I’m still kind of shaken from it, being honest. I definitely enjoyed college and not really having to worry about adult responsibilities and things of that nature. But it’s a special feeling knowing I’ve been recognized for all my hard work and being appreciated by the fan base and the university. I don’t think it gets any better than this.

Being a student at Georgia and playing ball, I’ve definitely grown, widened my horizons and experienced things I never thought I would. I feel like I’ve grown on and off the field, and the university prepared me for that. I’ve done some awesome things and met some awesome people. I’ll definitely be back to finish my schoolwork, because that was a big priority for me and my family and weighed heavily on my decision. I know football won’t last forever. It’ll be great to come back and get that degree, so I can tell my kids about it one day.

So thanks, Dawg Nation, for supporting me and supporting our team all year. We truly appreciated it.


Roquan Smith

If you’d like to purchase tickets to attend this special event, CLICK HERE.

NextSony Michel: Fan support helped propel Georgia to greatness in 2017
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