Georgia junior Roquan Smith, the Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker, announced Monday he will enter the NFL Draft.
Although it took him until the deadline day to declare, his decision comes as no surprise, considering he is a potential top 10 pick. NFLDraftScout.com rates him as the No. 9 prospect.
"Although he lacks ideal length and take-on power, Smith is a magnet to the ball and his professional make-up and mental alertness make him a high-ceiling, high floor prospect for the next level," according to NFLDraftScout.com. "Simply put, he is one of the best defensive players in the 2018 class and worthy of top-10 consideration."
Smith (6-1, 225) led the charge on defense for Georgia, which lost 26-23 in overtime to Alabama in the national championship game. He made 137 tackles, including 14 for loss and 6.5 sacks, in 15 games. He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, was the Defensive MVP of the Rose Bowl victory over Oklahoma, and took home MVP honors in the SEC title game.
"Words cannot describe how much Roquan has meant to our program," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement.
"The accolades he has received are a testimony to his ability as a player. But he has also demonstrated on and off the field the qualities of a great leader who has commanded the respect of all his teammates as well as our coaching and support staffs."
Smith is the second Georgia junior to declare for the 2018 draft, joining defensive tackle Trenton Thompson. The Bulldogs also lost sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason, who will transfer after he lost his starting job early last season to true freshman Jake Fromm.