KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jonathan Kongbo’s cryptic tweet was much ado about nothing — at least according to Tennessee coach Butch Jones.
Amid a rumor-filled Sunday afternoon, the Volunteers defensive end tweeted the following:
All things must come to an end pic.twitter.com/Zd9YuNLNnD
— Jonathan Kongbo (@Kongbo_1) October 30, 2016
Kongbo also removed all things Tennessee related from his Twitter bio, but Jones said the former No. 1 overall junior college transfer remains in the program and was tweeting about a virtual retirement.
“He lost in a FIFA video game, and those were soccer cleats that he tweeted out,” Jones explained.
“That’s why we don’t panic.”
Kongbo has had a frustrating first season at Tennessee though. The former 5-star recruit came to Knoxville with unrealistically high expectations, and the 6-foot-6, 284-pound defensive end has struggled learning the nuances of Bob Shoop’s exotic defense.
Despite Tennessee’s need for defensive tackles, Kongbo has resisted shifting inside on a full-time basis.
“The plan is to keep him at end right now,” Shoop said.
“The thing everybody has to keep in mind about Kongbo he is a tremendous talent. There’s not a lot of guys with his height, weight, size, speed and athletic ability. But he’s just learning the game.
“We’re playing the game of college football at the highest level possible, and to make the jump from two years ago to not even playing to being a senior at a high school in British Columbia, to going to Wyoming, to going to a junior college to here. It’s been a bit challenging to him. We support him. Coach (Steve) Stripling works with him everyday. He’s going to be a good player. Just be patient with him. It’s going to happen. It’s going to come.”
Kongbo has just 4 tackles on the season, none in SEC play. He does rank third on the Volunteers with 5 quarterback pressures, and last week, both Shoop and Jones teased a second-half surge for the redshirt sophomore.