The 90 Illini #44: Marc Mondesir
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I will now attempt to write this 90i post without saying "you know, just like Shogbonyo last year" eleven times. But I don't think it's possible. The entire goal for Year Four for Marc Mondesir is to be identical to Year Four for Ayo Shogbonyo last season. Right down the line, point by point.
44. Marc Mondesir
Uniform number: 54
Year in school: Redshirt Junior (2 years to play 2, technically 3 to play 3 with Covid rule)
Height: 6'-2" -- Weight: 240 lbs.
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
High School: St. Rita HS
Best offers: Wyoming, Northern Illinois, Illinois State
Tom Cruise rating: 1.5 Cruises
2019 statistics: Played in 3 games (Akron, Nebraska, Minnesota) with two tackles before an injury ended his season.
Mondesir was a camp offer. I can't remember the specifics - I think the camp was up in Chicago? - but the staff saw him at a June camp, offered, and he accepted not long after that. There's usually one or two like that in each class. For the 2017 class it was seeing Tony Adams at the St. Louis camp and Mondesir at the Chicago camp that June.
Since then, he's been a tweener, much like Ayo Shogbonyo. Is he an oversized outside linebacker or an undersized defensive end? Like Shogbonyo, Mondesir started out at linebacker and eventually moved to DE.
Actually, my brain is telling me he changed twice. LB as a freshman (played in 11 games on special teams), then DE as a sophomore (played in 10 games, again mostly special teams), then back to LB in the spring of 2019 before going back to DE in the summer. And then he played in three games last year before the injury.
Last season, there was this player named Ayo Shogbonyo (have I mentioned him?) who went from "no one is even mentioning him as third string" to "wait, he's the starter at WDE now?" in about a month. Going into camp last year, the discussion was whether Wole Betiku would be a strongside end or a weakside end, and if it was weakside, those two spots were locked down by Isaiah Gay and Betiku. Then Shogbonyo grabbed the starting spot and ran with it.
That's the hope for Mondesir - Shogbonyo lightning striking twice. Three seasons bouncing between LB and DE. Adding weight and strength. And then, as a fourth year player, a light bulb goes on and it's "wait, is he the starter now?".
Short of that, the real hope is that he provides quality backup minutes behind Isaiah Gay. The hope is that Gay (who was 17 years-old when he played in his first game in 2017) is finally ready frame-wise to hold up at weakside defensive end. And then the hope is that his classmate (Mondesir) is ready to be his backup. Both are on the smaller side, but that's what Lovie wants at WDE - almost-linebackers.
If Mondesir grabs the spot, technically he could be here three more years. He only played in three games last fall so that's a redshirt year if he wants it. So he could go redshirt junior (this season doesn't count towards eligibility), then redshirt junior again in 2021, and then redshirt senior in 2022. If he doesn't grab a spot (say Seth Coleman beats him out for the backup spot), then there's a chance he gets his degree in the spring and moves on.
Hopefully the answer here is Shogbonyo II.