Introducing the 2007 Class: Jonathan English

Adversity is no stranger to Jonathan English. Hurricane Katrina didn't spare its wrath on him on and off the field. Furthermore, despite solid statistics, recruiters overlooked his game film and overemphasized the assumed limitations of his 6-0 330 frame. These days, the defensive tackle is just appreciative to call ASU home and is eager to let his play speak for itself and prove skeptics wrong.

Hurricane Katrina caused the high school football schedule in New Orleans to be suspended four weeks. Needless to say that during that time, Jonathan English, like hundreds of thousands of other residents in the area, had other things on his mind aside from the gridiron. He and his family were able to leave town two days before the deadly storm hit.

However, when they came back their house, which had four feet of water in it, had to be torn down.

His mother's daycare business wasn't able to continue and operate in the post-hurricane reality.

English didn't those tragic events affect him, and went on to register 102 tackles, 11 sacks, and had two interceptions as a junior. That season was the first of his John Curtis High School's back-to-back championships. Aside from his natural abilities, the defensive tackle's new outlook on life, probably also had a profound affect on his play. "God has a plan for you and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," he said. "Everything happens for a reason, and because of the hurricane I appreciated life more and the people that love me. I stopped being ungrateful about things."

Despite impressive junior statistics and a solid personality to boot (was a team captain both his junior and senior seasons), many colleges ignored those attributes, while obsessing over some of his other traits. "A lot of coaches didn't like my height because they wanted someone 6-5 or something like that," recalled English. "Some offered me because they thought I was a package deal with (high school teammate) Joe McKnight (who ended up signing with USC), and once they found out we weren't they pulled my scholarship offer. The way I look at it, those schools lost out and Arizona State gained."

The ASU-LSU game, moved to Tempe just a week before kickoff due to Katrina, may have planted a seed in his recruitment by the Sun Devils. "When Arizona State called, my brother and I were saying ‘they almost beat LSU last year.' We also remembered that they almost beat USC that year too," remarked English. "I also remembered Coach Erickson from Miami and winning two national championships there. So there were a lot of good things I knew about ASU."

Defensive line coach Grady Stretz saw a highlight tape of English and contacted the defensive tackle's coaches late in the recruiting season. "The first time I talked to Coach Stretz was after our season was over," English noted. "He said he was gonna come down to see me, and when he did he offered me." Tulane and Minnesota offered before Arizona State did. Ole Miss offered the week of signing day in hopes that English would de-commit from the Sun Devils. Oklahoma State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin were other schools that recruited English at one point or another.

In his senior season he totaled 120 tackles (had six games with 10 or more tackles) , 20 sacks (11th in the nation in total sacks according to MaxPreps), 23 quarterback hurries, 11 additional tackles-for-loss, five forced fumbles, two pass deflections and two fumble recoveries. His pure strength (bench press of 455 pounds and squat of 600) allowed English to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. English may have had some college coaches disrespect his abilities, but stated that opposing offensive linemen were nothing but respectful when they lined up across him. With All-District, All-State and All-Metro New Orleans honors to his name, it isn't hard to see why.

On signing day English was listed at 330 pounds, but commented that he arrived in Tempe in he beginning of July 15 pounds lighter. "With all the workouts now, I'll probably lose another 5-10 pounds," he said, "That's my target weight 305, 310." Overall he's enjoying his time on the Sun Devil campus and is adjusting quickly to his new surroundings. "Everything is nice," he said. "I'm getting the hang of college life and I like hanging out with the other freshmen. From the first time we all met here in July, we've been brothers ever since. The biggest adjustment for me was waking up at the crack of dawn to go running or go to our 7:40 class. My roommate is T.J. Simpson and he's cool, but he keeps me up at night with his snoring and his phone going off (laughs)."

He added that the freshmen don't have much contact with the veterans who live off-campus and train separately from the newcomers. "The only time I see an older player is when I get lost on campus," he joked.

Even though he comes from muggy New Orleans, don't try to convince him that the temperatures in the Valley of the Sun these days are any easier to take. "I don't know what people are talking about being a dry heat here and stuff like that – it's hot here."

Things are certainly looking bright now for English and his family. His mother's day care business is in the process of being rebuilt and speaking of rebuilding, their family house has been restored and English has been living there since the end of his senior year. Perhaps those events help the ASU freshman to be at peace with the fact that he's far from his loved ones. "It's nice to play somewhere different. I talk to my family everyday, and I know they will support me no matter where I play," he remarked. "They'll watch my games on T.V. and they'll come to any games they can."

With the uncertainty at the defensive tackle depth chart, redshirting may be a tag that English could end up avoiding in 2007. "Coach told me he thinks I can play right away," he stated, "but I have to come in here, bust my butt, and prove to him that I can play this year."

Proving his worth. English has been doing for that for his entire football career, and there's no reason to believe he won't continue that trend for the maroon and gold.

Recruit Profile


Jonathan English

High School

John Curtis Christian High School (River Ridge, LA)


Defensive Tackle





Date of Birth



New Orleans, LA


"Tank. In 4th grade I dressed up for Halloween in army fatigue and I was a big kid back then, so people started calling me Tank."

Favorite TV Show

"Law & Order SVU"

Favorite Food


Favorite Drink


Favorite Athlete

"Warren Sapp."

Favorite Pro Team

"New Orleans Saints."

Person you most admire

"My mom. She's been through a lot."

First Football Memory

"I remember being three years old playing in my back yard with my brother and his friends. I was the smallest kid playing there and I was getting pushed around. But I didn't get pushed around a lot more after that."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I play basketball and I love that game."

Why did you choose ASU?

"New coach and a new program on the rise."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Successful, married with kids. I would like to own my own business."

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