2021 Recruit, Five-Star OLB Smael Mondon Jr. Places Gators in Top Five
The Florida Gators will be one of five teams in consideration for the No. 2 rated outside linebacker in the country, according to 247Sports Composite.
Smael Mondon Jr., a five-star prospect out of Paulding County (Dallas, Ga.), recently released his top-five school in consideration for his commitment to come at an undisclosed date later this year. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound outside linebacker is currently rated as the 26th-best player in the nation and third-best player in Georgia, according to 247Sports Composite.
Along with the Gators, Mondon listed Georgia, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn in his top-five. All five teams play in the SEC.
Florida originally offered Mondon on January 24th of 2019 and the peach state product is currently being recruited by Florida linebackers coach Christian Robinson. Thus far in the 2021 class, the Gators are expected to have JUCO-product Diwun Black returning to the program after becoming eligible to play after two years since originally committing to the school, and the Gators already have hybrid-outside linebacker Chief Borders on the docket for 2021.
Due to his athleticism and size, Mondon makes for an ideal fit in the Gators' defense at outside linebacker, able to make plays from all three levels of the defense. Mondon also plays running back at Paulding County, illustrating his versatility and knowledge of the game from an athleticism perspective.
The Gators will be competing with several big-time programs for his services, however, one of the more intriguing situations about his list is that Alabama is nowhere to be found. Oklahoma, another team that was highly-competitive for his services, is also not on the list.
The Gators have sought after highly-athletic linebackers since the arrival of head coach Dan Mullen and under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, along with Robinson. The team has secured linebacker Derek Wingo in the 2020 class who also fits in a similar mold to Mondon. In the team's 2019 class, they landed linebacker Ty'Ron Hopper who also fits into this mold and is expected to play a major role moving forward.
Time will tell whether or not the Gators will be able to pull him from Florida, but this development is surely going to ramp up his recruitment in the coming weeks and months.