Kellen Mond, four-star dual-threat quarterback from Bradenton, FL (IMG Academy), took a big step in the recruitment process this past Monday — making a huge statement for the Aggies in the process.
Mond, who committed to Texas A&M in late June after decommitting from the Baylor Bears, signed his financial aid papers with the university. Though not as binding a a letter of intent, the signing of financial aid papers is a huge step in the right direction for a recruit.
Verbal commitments are good, but they’re broken all the time — for a handful of reasons. Just look at Mond’s recruitment for proof of that. He was committed to Baylor but then backed away from the Bears after news of the scandal surrounding now former head coach Art Briles and the football team’s shaky finances. Most people would agree that decommitting for these reasons is very understandable. Other recruits walk away because another more desirable school has stepped up its recruitment, or new offers have been presented.
The point is that verbal commitments are easily dismissed, whereas signing financial aid papers with a school, well, that’s just about as close to locking things in as you can get.
So what’s the big deal?
In 2013, the NCAA started interpreting the rule book to allow recruits who intended to graduate early from high school to have the option of signing a financial aid agreement with their chosen university. An agreement can be signed as early as August 1st of the recruit’s senior year, and it ensures that the school will honor its scholarship commitment to the player who enrolls early.
Mitch Sherman of ESPN did a good job of explaining the significance of the interpertation back in 2013, so we’ll let him take it from here:
“For the high school quarterback who wants to obligate the school to which he is committed to honor a scholarship, even if the prospect suffers an injury as a senior, this is a nice option. For the midyear-graduating player who wants to send a message about the strength of his commitment, there is no stronger method than to sign scholarship papers in August.”
As Sherman pointed out in his piece, the financial aid agreement actually gives more power to the player — which was a revolutionary concept at the time. Even if a recruit signs his financial aid agreement, he can still decide to not go to the school. The paperwork also doesn’t stop other schools from recruiting said player, so it’s still the letter of intent that holds the most power on the recruiting trail. The school is the only party that’s locked in to the agreement.
Mond, a recruit who doesn’t sound like he’s considering backing out of his commitment, publicly reinforced his decision:
“I am excited to announce that my family and I have signed the Financial Aid Agreement to become a Texas A&M Aggie, Mond wrote on Twitter. “I can’t wait to be on campus in January as an early enrollee. GigEm.”
For all intents and purposes, Texas A&M fans can start dreaming about his future with the Aggies, and that’s great news for Kevin Sumlin and his staff. Mond is a big-time recruit who could very well be the future of Texas A&M football.
He’s 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and is ranked as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite. The only dual-threat quarterbacks ranked higher than him are five-star Alabama commit Tua Tagoviloa and four-star Ohio State commit Tate Martell. Mond is also the No. 84 overall player in America and the No. 23 recruit from the talent-rich state of Florida.
He’s the quarterback for IMG Academy, which is one of the best high school football schools in the country. That means he plays some of the best talent in the country on a weekly basis, so he’ll definitely be prepared for the transition to college once he graduates this winter.
Mond runs a 4.59 40-yard dash — tremendous speed for a quarterback — and that speed shows up on the football field. He has long strides and can beat defenders in open space. With that said, he also has a very strong arm, so he projects to be a perfect fit in Texas A&M’s system, and he’s going to provide a ton of competition for the quarterbacks in front of him on the depth chart.
Ultimately, it would not be a surprise to see him lighting it up for the Aggies on a weekly basis as the starter.