Tennessee football: Vols 5 most important seniors for 2018 season

BRISTOL, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Teammates surround defensive lineman Shy Tuttle
BRISTOL, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Teammates surround defensive lineman Shy Tuttle /
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Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images /

Tennessee football actually has talent at outside linebacker with guys like Darrell Taylor, Deandre Johnson and four-star junior college transfer Jordan Allen. But the guy who’s going to need to wreak havoc on the offenses is Jonathan Kongbo.

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Once a five-star junior college transfer, Kongbo has struggled to live up to his potential as well. That’s because the coaches moved him inside to defensive tackle, not his natural position, to offset injuries in 2016. They then moved him back to the outside and into a rotation in 2017.

This year, he practiced at end throughout the spring. Then, in the summer, Jeremy Pruitt and Kevin Sherrer moved him to outside linebacker. The transition is clear. They want Kongbo to be the X-factor in their base change.

If the Vols use their 3-4 set, Kongbo is the other outside linebacker. If they go to the 4-3 or the nickel, he is their other defensive end. That means Kongbo has the largest role to play as the guy who can blow up the offense.

Given the questions in UT’s secondary, Kongbo has to be able to make as many plays as possible this year. If he can’t blow up plays and frustrate quarterbacks, turning into a national superstar in the process, the Vols could be in trouble. That’s why he’s so critical here.

Ranking position groups for 2018 Vols. dark. Next

Tennessee football is actually in pretty good shape at outside linebacker. They have depth overall among the edge rushers. But Kongbo is a guy who needs to be the face of making it historically great. It’s the key to that side of the ball this year with so many top-rated recruits on the front seven. And like the others, Kongbo needs to finally reach that five-star potential his senior year.