The nation’s No. 1 junior college player received a special visitor in Yuma, Ariz., Monday morning — five-time national champion Nick Saban.
Jonathan Kongbo, a five-star defensive end from Arizona Western College, per Rivals’ rankings, told SEC Country that Saban’s main message to him was the fact that they need defensive linemen who can come in immediately and start.
“He reiterated the fact that he would rather recruit a high school guy and develop them, but he told me they need a JUCO guy to step in from Day 1,” Kongbo said. “He wouldn’t be here in Yuma, if he didn’t need me to come in and make an impact on the team.”
When Kongbo does make a commitment on National Signing Day, early playing time is going to be one of the most important factors when he makes his decision. Kongbo, who has three years of eligibility remaining, wants to see the field as soon as he can.
“It may be my main factor right now,” he said. “I would like to go to a place where I can get some game experience.”
The 6-foot-6, 264-pounder said he’s being recruited at the JACK position, which means in Alabama’s 3-4 package, he would play outside linebacker and in the Tide’s base 4-3 alignment, he would play defensive end. Heading into Monday’s visit with Saban, it was one of his unanswered questions.
“That was the biggest thing I wanted to know,” Kongbo said. “I wanted to know how I would be utilized.”
Kongbo, who just released his top eight schools two days ago, is planning on cutting his list in half Monday night. One school that will definitely make the list? Alabama.
“They have proven themselves to be winners,” Kongbo said. “A lot of people could talk badly about Alabama, but the facts are that they win. That’s another thing that Coach Saban said. I brought up some questions, and he said a lot of people are going to say this and that about Alabama, but facts are facts. They win a lot. They produce linemen that end up playing in the NFL.”
The Arizona Western College prospect, by way of Surrey, British Columbia, will make his first trip to Tuscaloosa this weekend for an official visit. If everything goes according to plan, there’s a good chance Alabama could solidify the top spot in his final four.
“Alabama is definitely a school I’m looking at,” he said. “It’s pretty high up on that list, and that’s without me going there.”
As far as his last visit goes, Kongbo said he’s considering visiting USC, Florida State or Oregon.