SAN ANTONIO – Football season is going to be a little different this year for former Reagan High School quarterback Kellen Mond.
Mond will still play on Friday nights, but his games will be far from the stadiums he starred in when he helped lead Reagan to district championships as a sophomore and junior.
“I think I’ll miss it a little bit,” Mond said. “But I feel it’s a sacrifice I had to make to help myself and get myself better and more prepared going into college, playing with guys who are on the same level, or probably even better, in practice and in games.”
One of the country’s top high school quarterbacks, Mond shocked the Reagan community in January when he transferred to IMG Academy, a private prep school in Bradenton, Fla., with a national reputation for producing blue-chip college prospects.
Mond orally committed to Baylor last summer before his junior season, but he took back his pledge this spring after the Bears’ football program was rocked by a scandal that cost head coach Art Briles his job. After a blitz by recruiters, Mond narrowed his choices to Texas A&M, Auburn and Ohio State. He chose the Aggies in the end, committing to A&M in late June.
Mond said that he was sold on A&M after meeting with head coach Kevin Sumlin and new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone during an unofficial visit to the College Station campus on June 11.
“I felt like they could really help me elevate my game, knowing about the quarterbacks that they’ve coached in the past,” Mond said. “Also, staying in Texas and knowing the type of alumni that Texas A&M has, and the type of network that it has, and the resources that it has is really important to me.”
Another former Reagan quarterback, Trevor Knight, will start for the Aggies this season after transferring to A&M from Oklahoma last year.
“He was the first one who made the call to me after I committed,” Mond recalled. “I definitely have a lot of respect for him. I wish him the best this season.”
Mond, 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, spent the first half of the summer working out in San Antonio with personal trainer Carlos Gonzalez before heading back to Bradenton last week.
“I definitely think it was beneficial going down to Florida a semester early, getting used to the classes and going through spring ball with a bunch of high-caliber guys and getting to know the offense,” Mond noted. “It’s been good to build a relationship and bonding with the guys I’m going to play with. I think it was very important to me to go in January and spend a semester there.”
A classic dual-threat quarterback, Mond was named District 26-6A Offensive MVP last year after he completed 137 of 243 passes with four interceptions for 1,991 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for 898 yards and seven TDs.
Reagan finished 10-1 and lost in the first round of the playoffs after going 12-2 and reaching the state quarterfinals in 2015. The Rattlers won their third consecutive district title and fourth in five years last season, but their run ended with a 17-7 loss to Smithson Valley.
The Baylor football program started to unravel this spring after Baylor released the findings of an external investigation into the university’s handling of sexual-assault allegations involving several Baylor players.
“I was a little bit shocked,” Mond said. “I don’t think I was really disappointed. I was more stressed out with all the schools starting to hit me up and stuff. They were still recruiting me even when I was committed.
“Me and my parents talked about it and we’re actually glad that it happened now instead of it happening when I was already on campus having to transfer and getting all the release forms. We’re glad it happened at that point. I believe everything happens for a reason, so I’m glad to be an Aggie.”
Mond’s quarterback coach at IMG is Rich Bartel, who also serves as the Ascenders’ offensive coordinator. Bartel was born in San Antonio and attended Clark for one year before moving to the Dallas area and graduating from Grapevine High School. He played college football at SMU and Tarleton State, and had a brief stint in the NFL.
“Coach Bartel definitely knows his stuff,” Mond said. “He has a lot of knowledge of the quarterback position and football. He’s been tremendous and I know I’m only going to get better with him working with me.”