Size: 6-2, 215
High School: Trinity High School
Hometown: Euless, Tex.
Jonathan Yenga held several BCS offers out of HS including Baylor, Oklahoma State, Arizona, and Duke but came to the Hilltop anyway. Even after committing and decommiting in a very strange three month period. Ultimately, Yenga followed his older brother Youri’s footsteps and came to SMU.
As a senior at Trinity, he tallied 134 tackles, 7 TFL and three sacks. As a junior he racking up 143 tackles- he was a bit of a stud. Yenga was the No. 71 player in all of Texas by Scout and was an AP honorable mention All-State choice.
Yenga played in all 12 games and started 11. In that stretch, he tallied 65 tackles—good for fourth on the team. The Junior also added 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. He had two 10+ tackle games against Tulsa and USF. Last season was rough on everyone, and the same goes for Yenga. Aside from notching 15 more tackles, his numbers dropped a bit from 2013.
There was quite a buzz around Yenga and the rest of the linebacking corp going into last season, and for the most part those expectations were not met.
With a new defensive coordinator and a new coaching regime in general, Yenga has the opportunity to improve on last season and live up to the lofty expectations placed on this defense.
Where he fits: Since he has been at SMU, Yenga has played in every game—except for the year he red shirted of course—and the last two seasons, he has started 80 percent of them. One could reasonably expect to see Yenga playing a large role in the teeth of the Mustangs’ defense.
Expectations: Statistics show that Yenga can put up large totals across the board when he is in a good defensive system. He did it for Trinity and even though he only notched 11 tackles in 2012, he showed he can operate well in an effective defensive system. In 2012, SMU posted two shutouts, tied an NCAA season record for pick-sixes and tied for third in the country in total takeaways and second in fumble recoveries for TDs. He’s got the athleticism. He has the experience. Now let’s see what Van Malone can get out of him.