2021 Recruiting Profile: Florida Gators OLB Target Smael Mondon
Smael Mondon Jr., outside linebacker
School: Paulding County (Dallas, Ga)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 220-pounds
247Sports Composite Rating: Five-Star, No. 2 outside linebacker, No. 3 state (Ga.), No. 26 national
As one of the top-rated recruits in the nation, Mondon has been recruited by nearly every top-tier school in the country, including the Gators.
Florida originally offered Mondon on January 24th of 2019 and the peach state product is currently being recruited by Florida linebackers coach Christian Robinson. For the Gators, the linebacker room has become a priority to address with several players slated to leave in the next couple of seasons. Hence why the team has been recruiting Mondon for so long, allowing the recruitment cycle to play itself out.
Mondon officially released his top-five prospective-programs list on July 5th, including the Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Tennessee Volunteers, LSU Tigers and the Auburn Tigers. The Bulldogs have been one of the teams closely following Mondon's recruiting, attempting to keep the outside linebacker in-state and out of the hands of their rival.
While he has yet to visit the campus due to the NCAA dead period caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to an interview with Mondon conducted by 247Sports' Blake Alderman, the five-star linebacker has had consistent communication with the team's linebackers coach, Chris Robinson.
Mondon also mentions in his interview with Alderman that the two have had contact since his sophomore season.'
The Gators have recruited other top-tier linebackers in this year's class including Graceville (Fla.) linebacker Xavian Sorey. Sorey is a five-star linebacker who currently ha the Gators listed in his top five along with Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU.
Long Term Fit
The Gators will be in search of another MONEY linebacker in due time as their current roster continues to develop. While they have certainly addressed the linebacker position with the additions of Diwun Black (2021 class, JUCO), Derek Wingo (2020) and Ty'Ron Hopper (2019), the Gators will want to supplement that position further, and adding Mondon will be a great start.
Mondon is a long, lean, linebacker at 6-3, 220-pounds who also can pack a punch when driving downfield. His athleticism has been notable throughout his high-school career, oftentimes lining up a running back on the team's offense. Due to his lean body structure, it's clear that Mondon has plenty of room to grow, something the Gators will certainly be enticed by.
For the Gators, the MONEY position plays a variety of roles at linebacker, including blitzing, pass-coverage and run-stuffing. All three things that Mondon has excelled at early and often as a high-school recruit.
As mentioned previously, the Gators already have players such as Black, Wingo and Hopper, however, adding Mondon would complete the quadfecta as the team inches closer to the 2021-22 season. Both Black and Hopper will become draft-eligible following that season and have a chance to leave the team, paving the way for Mondon to earn plenty of repetitions entering his sophomore season.
The fit is obvious, the Gators have been revamping their linebacker corp since Mullen took over with linebackers coach Christian Robinson and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham in the fold. Adding more athleticism to an already athletic back seven will pay dividends to the team moving forward.