ATLANTA — On Thursday morning, Quindarious “Smoke” Monday made it official: He’s an Under Armour All-American.
The 4-star safety from Carver High in Atlanta stood before classmates, family and coaches to accept the high honor as the second person in his high school’s history to make the star-studded All-American game. Monday was the life of the party, as he usually is, with seemingly every classmate in the school trying to take a photo with him at his ceremony.
It was a similar scene to some of the top college programs in the nation, as they try to pry Monday away from Auburn’s grasp.
Monday committed to Auburn in July, somewhat surprisingly. He was slated to visit Clemson 10 day after his Auburn visit, and it was Clemson that most — Monday included — believed he’d choose. But he left the Plains as an Auburn commit, and everyone else has been playing catch-up since.
“It’s still solid, real solid,” Monday said.
But that won’t stop Clemson — and to a lesser extent Georgia — from trying to flip him. And, at the very least, Monday is listening to the Clemson sales pitch intently.
Clemson stayed on Monday immediately after his Auburn commitment and managed to get him on campus for a late-summer visit. Monday hasn’t been able to take any college trips since the season started because his high school team plays so many games on Saturdays.
But Monday said he’s likely to visit all three of those schools above — Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. For Auburn, Clemson is the team to be weary of.
“Oh yeah. Clemson’s still hard on me. They’re hard on me, haven’t stopped,” Monday said. “After I committed the were like, ‘We’re still going to be on you hard. It’s just a verbal commit, so we’re still going to be on you hard.'”
So obviously, when Auburn and Clemson faced off Week 2, Monday’s eyes were firmly on the TV screen. He didn’t miss a single snap, he said. He was dialed in.
Many Auburn fans will make the assumption that’s bad news for them. That’s not necessarily the case. As a defensive player, Monday was blown away by the defensive and secondary play of both teams, which only further validated why Auburn and Clemson rose to the top for him.
“Both of the defenses were, oh man. I mean, I’m a defensive player, so I got to watch. Them are two really good teams,” Monday said. “It’s no easy decision, but I’m just going to have to make whatever decision is best for me and my family. Right now, that’s Auburn.”
That last tidbit will be music to Gus Malzahn’s ears.
Malzahn took a more involved role than normal to Monday’s recruitment, especially the family visit Monday took when he committed. He hasn’t backed off since that day. In fact, when Monday has his weekly phone call with Auburn, it’s almost always with Malzahn.
They spoke last week prior to Auburn’s and Monday’s games. Malzahn praised Monday’s early-season performances and said he’d be attending a Carver game soon.
“I actually talked with coach Gus last week. We were talking about how the games have been going, how the season’s going,” Monday said. “He said he’s going to try to come see a game and see how his star is looking. He said I’ve been looking good, so I want to put a show on for him.”
Monday hasn’t set any visits officially, though he plans to make it to Auburn in the “next couple of weeks,” which he said will likely be for the Mississippi State game or Ole Miss game. He wants to take his official visit for the Iron Bowl, but that hasn’t been finalized yet.
Check out SEC Country later for more from Monday’s ceremony.
— Benjamin Wolk (@benjaminwolk) September 21, 2017