It’s now or never for Tennessee’s Jonathan Kongbo

Jonathan Kongbo

Tennessee’s Jonathan Kongbo seems to understand the very different paths his life could take in the very near future.

Good. It’s about time.

Kongbo’s latest tweet is a vast departure from his earlier presence on social media in which he challenged UT’s rivals and talked up the Vols. Neither proved very productive for UT or Kongbo. The Vols’ shortcomings have been well chronicled. I won’t bore you with the gory details.

While UT has struggled overall in recent history, Kongbo has been languishing as well. Once the No. 1 junior college prospect in the nation, Kongbo has posted only 3 ½ sacks in his two season at Tennessee. Now, he enters his final collegiate season with everything on the line, personally, professionally and as it affects his team.

Kongbo is the kind of raw athlete who could change UT’s defensive front immensely. He has recently said he is moving from defensive end to linebacker via social media. Frankly, he could probably handle either position, but linebacker is probably a better fit for Jeremy Pruitt’s defense.

RELATED: Will position switch revive Jonathan Kongbo’s career?

As for Kongbo’s personal future? Well, this is a contract year.

Several Vols have overcome UT’s shortcomings as a team to find their way in the NFL. Former UT running back Alvin Kamara, who was named the 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year, comes to mind.

With Kongbo’s athleticism, it wouldn’t be a shock if he improved his play this season enough to be considered a valuable, albeit raw, NFL prospect. If Kongbo can prove he can consistently pressure the quarterback this fall, someone will want to pay him to do so very soon.

The transition to linebacker could be somewhat of a hurdle. However, Pruitt’s defense isn’t considered incredibly complicated so a redemption campaign in Kongbo’s swan song in Knoxville seems realistic.

Kongbo seems to have it all. He’s explosive. He’s 6-foot-6 and 264 pounds. He’s due. His tweet seems to realize he understands as much. That’s good because if Kongbo doesn’t “arrive” soon, his career will be remembered for little more than false promises.

RELATED: Can Jeremy Pruitt’s coaching overcome Vols roster deficiencies?

(You can follow Dave Hooker on Twitter @TheDaveHooker)

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