Vols on Trail of L.A. Safety

Whether it's as a big safety or quick linebacker, Jonas Mouton of Los Angeles, Calif., will bring some serious west coast defense to one premiere college program next fall.

For now the diverse gridiron talent is delivering big-time for Venice High School in a variety of roles including: wide receiver, tight end, H-back, linebacker, cornerback, and safety. The five-star prospect is ranked No. 4 nationally among safety prospects.

"I know some people think he will play linebacker in college," Venice head coach Angelo Gasca told Scout.com's Don Hoekwater. "But I can't see him anywhere else but safety, he is so fast and quick for a player his size. He is a hard hitter and has a good nose for the ball."

As a junior, Jonas Mouton was named Western League's Defensive player of the year after recording 87 tackles with three sacks and five interceptions. On offense, he caught 30-plus passes for 620 yards and rushed the ball 40 times for 375 yards. Additionally, he scored 12 combined touchdowns to lead Venice to a 9-3 record and earn all-city as well as all-state honors.

Checking in at an imposing 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Mouton certainly has the size and frame to play linebacker, but his exceptional quickness and sub 4.6 speed allows him to roam center field. A striker with a 38-inch vertical, Mouton is as effective against the run as he is against the pass.

Naturally, there is no shortage of teams seeking his services, and all are apparently willing to let him continue at safety on the next level, including Tennessee which just recently became a contender.

"I like Michigan, USC, Nebraska, Arizona, LSU, Oregon, Cal, and Tennessee," he told Scout.com's Andrew Friedman last week. "Tennessee just recently offered me. I am visiting Michigan this weekend and then I need to figure out my other visits. I am still not sure if I will use one of them on going to USC, or not, since they are so close."

If the Vols gain a visit they will have to overcome some intrinsic disadvantages. Tennessee is the furthest locale among his eight favorites and the latest addition to his list. Originally from Kaplan, La., Mouton still has family in the state which may give LSU an inside track. USC has the hometown advantage. Cal has a home-state advantage. Nebraska and Michigan have already received a visits.

Under the circumstances just becoming a contender is an achievement by UT's crack recruiting staff, while getting an official visit from Jonas would be a bonus.

But the prize is worth the try.

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