The Tennessee Vols currently have 25 players committed to their 2021 recruiting class, which is ranked No. 6 in the nation (247Sports).
Tennessee obviously doesn’t have much room left in its 2021 class, but that doesn’t mean the Vols are done recruiting.
In fact, UT still has several big targets left on the board.
One of those targets is five-star linebacker Smael Mondon, 6-foot-3/220 lbs from Dallas, GA.
Mondon is rated by 247Sports as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation and the No. 9 overall 2021 recruit in the nation.
The dynamic recruit, who has a top five of Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee, recently spoke to 247Sports about his recruitment.
Mondon has been extremely tight-lipped about his recruitment and his recent interview with 247Sports wasn’t any different. The Georgia native didn’t really provide much insight into where he will end up committing. But he did provide some context into what he’s looking for in a program.
“It’s got to be the best mix of relationship with the position coach, depth chart, comfort at the school and where I fit into the defensive scheme,” said Mondon.
It certainly sounds like it will be all about relationships for Mondon, but I’m not sure that will be the case.
When discussing each of his top five schools, Mondon made sure to point out whether or not each program was “at the the top” of the SEC.
“There’s a couple things that put Georgia in my top five. It was Alabama at the top for a while in the SEC and now you see Georgia step up,” explained Mondon.
“Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, all of them. I feel that whole group will be good for a while.”
I don’t think this bodes well for Tennessee’s chances of landing Mondon. I think it’s obvious he wants a good relationship with coaches, but he also wants to land at a program that’s at the top of the SEC.
Right now, that’s not the Vols.
But it can be.
Tennessee, however, needs to prove that to Mondon this season.
And I think the only way to do that is to beat one of Alabama, Florida, or Georgia.
If the Vols can win one of those — specifically the Georgia game — I think their odds of landing Mondon will increase significantly.
At this point, that’s really all Tennessee can do to improve their chances with Mondon. The relationships are what they are.
Mondon needs to see which direction programs are trending. Tennessee needs to prove they have the biggest upside in the SEC. The only way to do that is to pick up a couple of statement wins this season.
Featured image via 247Sports/Twitter