Alabama and Tennessee are longtime rivals on the football field. Now, it’s time to face off for one of the top junior-college prospects in the nation.
The Crimson Tide have secured an official visit from defensive end Jonathan Kongbo, a 4-star defensive end who is rated the top junior-college prospect in the nation by 247 Sports. Kongbo confirmed the trip to SEC Country on Tuesday. Kongbo, who is from Arizona Western Junior College (Yuma, Ariz.), committed to Tennessee in November during an official visit. The Alabama visit will take place on Jan. 15.
“It’s obviously a traditional powerhouse and that’s the thing that’s attracting me to them right now,” the 6-foot-5 ½, 264-pound prospect said. “I know they’re a very good team and very well coached. I’m just exploring all my options at this point.”
The visit could put the Vols in a tough position. Kongbo has already taken his official visit to Tennessee so a return trip seems unlikely. Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek visited Kongbo recently to continue to pitch what the Vols have to offer.
“He just said that they love me and come to Tennessee,” Kongbo said of Jancek’s visit. “They didn’t really discuss the issues of other schools coming along. He just told me to remember Tennessee and the things they’re trying to accomplish, the spot they have for me and the vision.”
Tennessee and Alabama aren’t the only schools pushing hard for Kongbo. They were just two of the schools who sent coaches to visit him in the past few days. Mississippi State, Oregon, Nebraska, Washington and Ole Miss also sent coaches to see Kongbo.
“It’s been a blessing having all these coaches come by and express interest in me,” Kongbo said.
The attention is a little unusual for Kongbo, who had only one scholarship offer – to Wyoming – when he came out of high school.
“I don’t even know how to describe it,” Kongbo said. “It’s an interesting, unique case. I’m committed to Tennessee. I’m still pretty strong on that commitment but I’m still going to take all of my visits because I’d feel like it would be irresponsible not to. It’s been interesting. It’s an interesting process.”
Kongbo took an official visit to Ole Miss in October and Oregon State in November. That means that he’d still have another official visit left to take after Alabama on Jan. 15. Kongbo said he’d likely take his fifth official visit but didn’t know the destination. Even though Kongbo has shown interest in playing in the SEC, he reiterated he has no preference as to where he plays in the country.
“I’m wide open,” he said.