Nearly everywhere you look, you’ll find Florida quarterback Kyle Trask ranks markedly higher than Kellen Mond does. But why, with the clear advantage of physical skillset heavily favoring Mond, is that the case? Is there a way for Mond to usurp Trask in their mutual goal toward ascension of the NFL Draft ranks, starting with a win against Florida on Saturday?
Are the odds in favor of Mond leading an upset?
Well, for Kellen Mond and his Texas A&M Aggies, they are not. They’ll march into Saturday as a 7-point home underdog against Trask and the Gators. And when it comes to the Heisman Trophy odds, one will find Trask near the top-3 behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, but you won’t find Mond listed.
This is partly due to the lack of production throughout Mond’s career against the top competition. He’s had plenty of chances, playing the likes of Alabama (4x), Auburn (3x), Lousiana State (2x), Georgia, and Clemson (2x) throughout his time at A&M. Another reason he’s listed below the likes of Trask is that he’s been around since he was a freshman, and the hype surrounding him after his sophomore season has fizzled out after a junior campaign that lacked an uptick in production and growth on tape. Conversely, Trask burst onto the scene last season after replacing Feleipe Franks, and everybody is trying to find the next Joe Burrow.
The weight of physical traits
If the Aggies do somehow pull off the upset, it’ll be physical traits and personal growth combining to put a product on the field that talent evaluators have searched for from Mond for two years now. This is the biggest area that Mond has a clear advantage over Trask, and it’s the one that will lead him to new heights if he figures it out throughout his senior season.
As a runner, the difference is easily distinguishable. Mond already has over 1300 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground in his career. Over the summer, I tracked 125 Kyle Trask passes. Trask only attempted nine outside of the pocket, and he’s only tallied 28 yards rushing on 77 career attempts.
The arm is also there in a way that doesn’t exist in Trask. Mond has a snappy, high-elbow release that gets through the throwing hallway in a hurry, and somehow still, despite the lack of length of motion, generates a surprising amount of velocity. His arm allows him to really live over the middle of the field, where traffic is the heaviest. This has both its positives and negatives.
Positives of his middle of the field aggression
A positive trait is that Mond is not afraid to let it rip over the middle and through a bunch of traffic. His propensity to attack between those wide college hashes means he’s at least somewhat able to handle the complexity that comes with bodies being strewn all over the field. Another positive is it makes for “easier” throws traveling less distance, which in theory should help with completion percentage, something he’s struggled with during his time at A&M.
Take, for instance, a young Dak Prescott with the Cowboys. Nearly the entire offense revolved around throwing the ball toward the numbers. A lot of young quarterbacks prefer this because things are simpler out there, particularly to the field side where space is king. Mond has the kind of arm to rip it out there, and he still chooses to attack between the hashes without fear.
Negatives of his middle of the field aggression
Unfortunately, despite his willingness to uncork passes to that area, his processor still isn’t as fine-tuned as one would like to see, which leads to some interceptable passes or costly turnovers. The other negative with these types of throws being such a big part of the offense is that it doesn’t adequately show off what his arm can really do.
History in the making could turn magical
Kellen Mond needs just 125 yards against the Gators to become Texas A&M’s all-time leading passer. If he goes out and is able to pull off the upset against the likes of cornerbacks Marco Wilson, Trey Dean and linebackers Ventrell Miller and Brenton Cox Jr. while completing a good percentage of his passes, we could start to see the narrative surrounding Mond and Trask change, bringing them closer to one another in the conversation moving forward. Mond may be a sleeping giant waiting to be let out of his cage.