City of Montezuma backs Georgia’s Roquan Smith

It took a lot more people than just Roy Yoder (R) in Montezuma to see that Roquan Smith was raised right. (AJC/Chip Towers)

It took a lot more people than just Roy Yoder (R) in Montezuma to see that Roquan Smith was raised right. (AJC/Chip Towers)

I hope you got a chance to catch the first of my stories for our “Next Generation” series on some of Georgia’s most intriguing incoming freshmen in the Class of 2015. It was on Roquan Smith, a linebacker from Macon County High School in Montezuma, Ga.

The video above was actually created to run with that package but was not able to due to some technical difficulties. Better late than never.

A little more background on Smith: First of all, he comes from a hard-working family. His mother, Shaquana Thomas, works at Fort Valley State University about 20 minutes up the road from Montezuma. And his father, Roderick Thomas, lives about an hour away in Macon where he works construction.

Roquan also has some siblings. He has an older brother, Rod Smith, who’s 19; a younger sister, Tyanna Richards, 15; and a younger brother, Omar Richards, who is 9.

So with both parents working and a lot of mouths to feed, Roquan and his brothers and sisters have been looked after by a lot of people. Roy Yoder is just the latest a long line of people who have stepped up to do that. First and foremost on that list is Roquan’s aunt, Gloria Story. There’s also another aunt, Shaqwanda Baker, who has helped keep an eye on him, plus family friend Willie Mathis.

So there has been a bunch of folks in and around Montezuma and Macon County involved in seeing that Roquan Smith was raised right. By all accounts, they’ve done a fine job.

“He has a strong family circle, a good support system,” said Rickey Edmond, principal of Macon County High School. “I can’t say enough about Ms. Story. She’s a very hands-on person. Most of the time you see her you’re going to see him. She works for all students here. She’s a member of the athletic booster organization. She’s champion for this school and this community. And his dad has been there supporting him in various ways. They’ve really been there for him in different capacities.”

The second story in that series runs later this week. It’s on Sam Madden, a big offensive lineman from Barnegat, N.J.

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