Vols 'educating' Jonathan Kongbo on Twitter bravado

Vols 'educating' Jonathan Kongbo on Twitter bravado

May 6th, 2016 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

Gallery: Vols 'educating' Kongbo on Twitter bravado

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Jonathan Kongbo may have been the Tennessee football program's most outspoken player in recent weeks despite the fact he's neither played a snap nor even stepped foot on campus to begin his career.

The junior college defensive end's bravado on social media this spring has included declarations that the Volunteers would beat both rivals Florida and Alabama — the Gators and Crimson Tide have beaten Tennessee a combined 20 straight times — and win every game this season.

Butch Jones told fans at the Big Orange Caravan stop in Atlanta on Wednesday night he'd spoken to Kongbo about his Twitter activity, so naturally it came up as Tennessee's head coach met with the media prior to Thursday night's Caravan stop at The Chattanoogan.

"Part of it is just educating him," Jones said. "That's part of our program, and that's what we're here for, is to develop and grow these young men. He understands and he gets it. Really what he was trying to say is he's excited to get going and start working at Tennessee when he gets here. That's really what he meant.

"That's kind of the age that we live in. Everyone wants to broadcast their emotions and how they're feeling. You have to educate them on the proper ways of doing it, but he didn't mean anything by it. He's a confident young man, and you know what, we want that confidence. We'll continue to educate him when he gets here."

Kongbo's addition will be a welcome one to Tennessee's defensive line.

He was a five-star prospect according to multiple recruiting services and the nation's No. 1 junior college player according to 247Sports.com. Kongbo is now up to 280 pounds, though that doesn't include his confidence, which detractors instead might call cockiness.

He recently posted a video of himself working out next to a dry-erase white board bearing the message, "Bama we coming!"

"How do you expect to win, if you don't believe you can beat anybody," Kongbo wrote in another tweet.

There's little doubt, though, the Vols will welcome Kongbo's talent and grandiosity to the program.

"It's all about respect for your opponents," Jones said. "We talked about (how) he still hasn't played a down here. There's a lot of individuals that are working hard, and when he comes in, it's just being quiet and working hard every day to earn the respect of your peers. It's the same course Alvin Kamara took, and now he's a team captain.

"Jonathan is a great young man (of) very high character, and he'll be fine."

Dobbs does Canada

Another May brings another internship for Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs.

The senior is reconnecting with aerospace engineering manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, with whom he spent last May, but his off-field interest this time is taking him north of the border.

Dobbs will spend this month in Montreal for the internship.

"That's what we talk about (being) a student-athlete," Jones said. "I know Josh will be ready to go, and I know he'll be working out while he's in Montreal as well."

Dobbs isn't the only Tennessee player venturing abroad this month.

Linebacker Kenny Bynum, a fifth-year senior who's already earned his undergraduate degree in recreaton and sport management, is part of a small group of Tennessee students who will spend this month taking a finance and management course in London.

Dobbs' interest in building and flying planes and his busy academic schedule as an aerospace engineering major have been well-documented.

Tennessee is 13-5 in its last 18 games since Dobbs took over as the starter, and he's one of the many reasons the Vols are expecting to challenge for the SEC championship in 2016.

"You look at how far Josh has come, and he's a great ambassador and a great representative for the University of Tennessee and a very, very competitive young man," Jones said. "You look at it, and everything is about playing winning football at the quarterback position. Josh has done a very good job for us."

Blessing in disguise?

Though the Vols were without a handful of starters and key contributors for spring practice — 24 players sat out the spring game — Jones believes it was beneficial, particularly for the younger players and reserves who had increased workloads.

"It was an opportunity for a lot of individuals to get valuable repetitions and put their football identity on video," he said. "Us as a coaching staff now have a lot of plays that we can look back to. Our players have already come in, and they're watching themselves on video.

"I think a positive thing is I think we were able to develop a little bit of depth throughout the course of spring because of (those) individuals gaining a lot of reps."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com