Mondon is the No. 29 overall player in the class and the No. 3 player in the state. Heading into the early signing period, Mondon is the highest-rated defensive signee for the Bulldogs in the class.
He is listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. He played his high school football at Paulding County in Dallas, Ga. Georgia beat out the likes of Auburn, Tennessee, LSU and Florida for Mondon.
Mondon is one three linebackers in the class, as he joins Chazz Chambliss, Jamon Dumas-Johnson. Georgia is also awaiting to see if it lands the likes of Xavian Sorey and Korey Foreman in the 2021 recruiting cycle as well. Mondon and Dumas-Johnson will be inside linebackers at the next level.
Mondon is one of three 5-star prospects from the state of Georgia in the 2021 recruiting cycle, joining Brock Vandagriff and Amarius Mims. All three players will sign with Georgia.
Early playing time prospects for Smael Mondon with Georgia football
Georgia is set to lose Monty Rice and Nate McBride at the inside linebacker position this offseason. The Bulldogs are well-stocked with the likes of Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker, Channing Tindall, Rian Davis and Trezmen Marshall all set to return as well.
Mondon does offer the athletic ability to play as an outside linebacker but his long-term future is likely at the inside linebacker position.
“He’s played a lot on the inside but he is very instinctual on the outside,” Mondon’s high school coach Van Spence said. “He’s so long. He’s athletic. He’s fast. Wherever they put him, he’ll do great. For us, he was more on the interior. But if they put him on the outside, he can do some pretty good stuff on coverage and on the blitz.”
Dean, the last 5-star linebacker prospect Georgia signed, did play significant snaps as a freshman. It will be worthing watching how quickly Mondon adjusts to the physical rigors of the SEC, as that will likely determine how quickly he sees the field.
5-star prospect Smael Mondon explains why he committed to Georgia football program
Smael Mondon has similarities to another Georgia linebacker in Quay Walker
Mondon has the length and athleticism to play at the outside linebacker spot for Georgia. But his skillset most mirrors that of Walker.
Walker signed as a top-35 prospect in the 2018 class out of Crisp County High School in Cordele, Ga. Like Mondon, he was long and athletic prospect who could’ve played on the outside, but Georgia bumped him to the inside linebacker position.
“Playing inside but being a three-down linebacker,” Mondon said on how Georgia envisions him. “Being able to play the run and the pass. Pass rush. Pass coverage. Just different stuff.”
As a junior, Walker is having his most productive season to date. He’s fourth on the team with 36 tackles, despite playing behind the likes of Rice and Dean. He’s also got four quarterback hurries on the season, as Georgia has no fear in using him in pass-rushing situations.
Smael Mondon’s senior season was cut short due to injury
Mondon will enroll early at Georgia and the early parts of his time in Athens will be dedicated to getting healthy.
The 5-star prospect had his final season of high school football cut short due to a knee injury. Mondon did have the injury repaired and he has already begun the rehab process.
“A little saying I have is a hungry ‘Dawg hunts better,” Spence said. “He should be real hungry. He really only played two-and-a-half ballgames this year. I think they are going to get a guy who is pretty motivated. Pretty driven to prove that his high rankings are what they should have been. This is all hard on a kid when he doesn’t really get to play. He really wanted to.”
Coming into college dinged up is not uncommon. Zamir White and Azeez Ojulari both were coming off knee injuries when they entered the Georgia program and are now two of the top players in the team.
And the 2020 recruiting class saw the likes of Darnell Washington, Arian Smith and Kelee Ringo all have surgeries performed once they arrived in Georgia. Mondon should be good to go for spring ball and definitely for the start of fall camp.
Smael Mondon story history with DawgNation
Smael Mondon high school highlight film