Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith to enter NFL draft

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Roquan Smith by the numbers (0:31)

See why the former Georgia defensive star has been rated as the No. 1 draft-eligible inside linebacker. (0:31)

Georgia All-America linebacker Roquan Smith is headed to the NFL draft.

Smith, who won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker in 2017, announced his decision Monday, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft. He led Georgia in tackles (137), tackles for loss (14), sacks (6.5) and quarterback hurries (17), while forcing a fumble and recovering two fumbles.

ESPN's Mel Kiper lists Smith as the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 15 overall player for the 2018 draft.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior from Montezuma, Georgia, helped guide the Bulldogs to an SEC championship and an appearance in the CFP national title game.

"As you know this is somewhat of a crossroads for me. I've had discussions with coaches and family and a lot of thought and prayer," Smith said in a statement. "The decision to leave is not easy but I know it is the right one. Georgia will always be my school and my home and I sincerely wish all the best to the coaches, staff, and players as they continue to reach higher goals in the years to come."

Smith earned consensus All-America honors and was named the SEC's defensive MVP and MVP of Georgia's SEC championship game victory over Auburn.

"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. As the head coach, it's been a privilege to see him develop as a student-athlete and inspirational leader who has made immeasurable contributions to our team and to the program we are building."