On one of many appearances on SportsCenter for Butch Jones on Monday, the Tennessee head coach got to talk about one of his most important players in 2017, Jonathan Kongbo.
The redshirt junior defensive end has some big shoes to fill with Derek Barnett departing to the NFL. Jones is clearly excited about having him in a featured role this season, saying “He’s having as good of an offseason as any individual that we’ve had. We’re excited. He’s going to be one of the key players for this football team.”
Jones was then asked about Kongbo’s potential. Butch came back quickly, saying “I think it’s unlimited. The sky is the limit for him. Jonathan can be as good as he wants to be.”
Kongbo is just one of several unknowns up front for Tennessee. First year defensive line coach Brady Hoke has his work cut out from him to maximize some underperforming talent along the defensive front.
For whatever reason, it just didn’t come together for Kongbo in 2016. He ended up playing out of position near the end of the season, but he’ll return to his more natural role for 2017. Maybe a full time role will be just what he needs to break out.