Tennessee already has a couple five-stars committed to them in the 2021 class, and they’ll try to land a few more in this cycle. One of their top targets in the 2021 cycle has been paying a lot of attention to the Vols lately, and he’s ready to make a college decision soon.
Smael Mondon, a five-star outside linebacker who plays for Paulding County in Dallas, Georgia, tweeted out a short video on Monday night revealing that he will be making his commitment announcement sometime in June.
— Smael Mondon Jr (@SmaelJr) May 11, 2020
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Mondon is the No. 26 overall prospect, No. 2 outside linebacker, and No. 3 recruit in the state of Georgia in the 2021 class. He holds offers from over three dozen programs, including Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Oklahoma, and many others.
While Mondon has not released a list of top teams yet, Georgia and Tennessee are considered two of the teams recruiting him the hardest.
In a recent interview with Matt Ray of VR2, Mondon said that Tennessee was one of the schools pushing for him the hardest along with Auburn, LSU, Florida, and Georgia. He also mentioned Alabama and Oklahoma as teams he’s hearing from the most.
As for his relationship with the Vols, ace recruiter Brian Niedermeyer has been Tennessee’s main point of contact with the five-star defender.
“We have a good relationship, and it has been growing,” Mondon told Ray about Niedermeyer. “He has been telling me about the new movement at Tennessee, and how it is going to be something different there.”
Mondon said there’s an appeal to come to Tennessee and help “completely turn something around” with the program. A lot of UT’s current commits have been peer recruiting him to come to Knoxville, and starting a legacy outside of his home state of Georgia has him interested.
“I have been talking with them, but it is just the chance to go there and start a legacy and win with them,” Mondon said of Tennessee’s current commits and players recruiting him.
Despite Tennessee making a strong push, Georgia still seems to be the leader for Mondon’s commitment in little over a month. All nine crystal ball predictions on 247Sports for Mondon have been cast in favor of the Bulldogs, including Rusty Mansell of UGA’s 247Sports site.
Mondon has visited Tennessee three times in the last year. He took an unofficial visit to Knoxville in late July of last year and came back to see the Vols take on Vanderbilt in the regular season finale. He also visited in late January of this year. Tennessee was the first SEC school to offer Mondon and the second school overall. Virginia Tech offered him first on October 9, 2018. The Vols extended an offer on November 7, 2018.
Watching Mondon’s film, he certainly looks to live up to that five-star billing. He’s a physical, violent defender with really good speed and exceptional length. He can move very well and has great pursuit. He shows off his versatility and overall athleticism by playing on both sides of the ball for Paulding County.
As a junior this past season, Mondon ran the ball 57 times for 498 yards and six scores while catching 15 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown according to MaxPreps. His defensive stats from his junior season have not been updated on the site.
Tennessee’s 2021 recruiting class currently ranks No. 2 in the country and No. 1 in the SEC. The Vols have two five-star prospects already committed to them in outside linebacker Terrence Lewis and edge rusher Dylan Brooks.