Jonathan Kongbo has taken an interesting path to get to Tennessee.
The Vols outside linebacker was born in the Congo and moved to Canada when he was 5 years old. Kongbo began playing basketball before finding a passion for football as a senior at Holy Cross High School in Surrey, British Columbia.
His collegiate career began at the University of Wyoming, where he redshirted in his freshman year, before transferring to Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona. Kongbo recorded 55 tackles with 16 tackles for loss including 11 sacks in 2015, earning him 5-star ratings from multiple outlets and being tabbed as the unanimous No. 1 rated defensive end in junior college.
“I was actually walking across the bridge by the globe or the sphere the other day and I was just looking over and you could see the sphere and the stadium in the background and it’s just crazy kind of like the ups and downs and the roads that football has taken me with,” Kongbo said. “it’s just been honestly a blessed opportunity. I never thought I would be in this position to have cameras in my face and people interested in what I have to say it so it’s unreal where sports can take you.”
Kongbo has combined for 40 tackles in his first two seasons at Tennessee. While he has only totaled 3.5 sacks at Tennessee, he is hoping his numbers could see a spike in 2018 after switching from defensive end to outside linebacker.
“I tell everyone I feel like myself again so I’m confident, anything they are wanting me to do, I’m willing to do it.”
After being part of a team that finished 0-8 in the SEC in 2017, Kongbo says he has already seen a change in attitude under first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
“The culture is completely different,” Kongbo said. “I keep telling my parents it doesn’t even feel like the same place just as far as the culture that’s been instilled here, it’s completely different. The discipline and the accountability now is at a whole new level. I feel like us as players, we don’t back down or shy down on calling each other out no more.”