Elite LB Includes Vols on Shortlist of Favorites

Matthew Ray

Tennessee has become heavily involved in the pursuit of elite linebacker Smael Mondon (Ga.). Mondon had originally planned to announce a commitment in the month of June, but he would announce late last week that he was pushing it back.

He has now released a final list of schools, including the Vols. A commitment date has yet to be announced, however, sources have indicated Mondon is having difficulty nailing down who is on top.

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In late May, Mondon told VR2 on SI on the current state of his recruitment with the COVID-19 shutdown, " It made it different because I can't go on visits anymore, so it changed the process of cutting down schools. It changed how I have to look at schools, so I can only focus on schools I have been to and visited. Not that I am not focusing on any schools I haven't been to yet, but to seriously consider a school, I would have to go there for a visit. I am still considering those schools, though. It is really just talking to coaches more online and with zoom chats."

He also added at the time, "staying home all day, every day during quarantine, makes me want to go as far away as possible. Nothing really changed about me going further away or staying closer. I would not be against it."

Brian Niedermeyer is leading the charge for Tennessee, and at the time, Mondon said, "we have a good relationship, and it has been growing. He has been telling me about the new movement at Tennessee, and how it is going to be something different there."

The recruiting momentum the Vols had also caught his attention, as he added on joining the class, "it is just the chance to completely turn something around. When you are the first to do something or first to do something in a while, people remember. So, it is really just the chance to leave a long-lasting legacy there."

At the time, he said of Georgia,  "they have been recruiting me hard. Their message is state pride. Just stay home and build something for your state."

Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia are the teams believed to have the most momentum with Mondon, and it appears they are going to have to wait at least a little longer to get an answer.

Tennessee currently holds commitments from highly sought after linebackers in Aaron Willis and Terrence Lewis. Mondon is the guy who is being pitched as the final piece of the puzzle.

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