Kirby Smart praises Georgia football linebacker Smael Mondon: ‘As good an athlete as I’ve seen’

Kirby Smart made it clear he liked his young inside linebackers last year. We just didn’t get to see very many snaps from them given the Bulldogs had Nakobe Dean, Channing Tindall and Quay Walker on the roster. All three were taken in the first 100 selections of the 2022 NFL Draft, with Dean also winning the Butkus Award for being the nation’s top linebacker.

With the trio all off in the NFL, Georgia has plenty of snaps to give out to its less heralded linebackers. Sophomore Jamon Dumas-Johnson really separated himself in the spring and seems like a sure bet to start at one of the inside linebacker spots.

Related: Jamon Dumas-Johnson emerging as next great Georgia football linebacker: ‘I think Pop is going to be special’

Yet it was another sophomore inside linebacker that Smart spoke highly of on Thursday. That would be fellow sophomore Smael Mondon, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound physical freak.

“Smael Mondon is as good an athlete as I’ve seen,” Smart said. “He has to increase his physicality, his toughness. He missed spring because of a shoulder surgery. But he’s put on some good, solid weight. Played a lot of snaps on special teams. Core linebackers get valuable experience on special teams before they’re the featured guy.”


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