4-star Smael Mondon feels 'home vibe and comfortable' on Rocky Top
Dallas, Georgia linebacker Smael Mondon has laid relatively low during the spring and summer as COVID-19 has taken coaches and kids off the recruiting trail. With that said, he has still seen plenty of attention as a final 5 of Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Georgia and Florida have schools across the SEC looking for information on the low-key Paulding County product.
"It's been different, but I've just been chilling," Mondon said. "It's been different with the coaches doing a lot of Zoom calls and stuff like that. It's not been bad though."
Tennessee has found itself in the middle of a dog fight to land the peach state playmaker. The lead recruiter is Brian Niedermeyer, but it's more than just Tennessee's linebackers coach that have the Vols in the mix.
"I have a good relationship with all the coaches at Tennessee," Mondon said. "When I've been ups there it has a home vibe to it and I feel comfortable there. I think those are the main things that stand out about Tennessee."
The relationship with Niedermeyer started over a year ago when Niedermeyer was the tight ends coach. Now he coaches linebackers and not only being the lead recruiter, but potential position coach is a solid for the Vols.
"He's a cool dude," Mondon said. "He's easy to talk to and the fact he would be coaching me is good."
Playing both running back and linebacker in high school has been something that Mondon has relished. He loves to be on the field making plays and he feels like his game has grown because of his first hand experience.
"I've improved a lot," Mondon said. "I've grown into my body and grown into being a worker that showcases the work you put into something. I'm faster and stronger. I'm a much smoother player now because it's more natural and comfortable."
Mondon hopes to take his five official visits this fall, but he's the first to acknowledge that may not happen with the current climate.
"That's my goal, but if it doesn't happen then I'm not worried," Mondon said. "I'm comfortable with the five schools."
When he sets down to work toward a decision, Mondon knows what he is looking for. He may not do a lot of talking, but he does do a lot of thinking about what's important to him through this process.
"I want to find.a school that I have a good relationship with he coaching staff," Mondon said. "A place I have a good vibe about, but the ability to trust the coaches is big to me. I'm looking at the depth chart at each school and I'm looking to see what schools are going in the right direction."
Rivals.com ranks Mondon as a 4-star linebacker in the class of 2021.