Jonathan Kongbo has been a busy man of late.
The Scout five-star defensive end went from eating ice cream in Arizona with Butch Jones and his staff to zooming across the country to Florida State for his last official visit before National Signing Day. In the middle of it all, he's been tasked with determining what school will provide the right fit for him with National Signing Day looming.
Jones, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, defensive line coach Steve Stripling and running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie spent Thursday afternoon with Kongbo soaking in The Grand Canyon State sun as they made a final in-person pitch to the Arizona Western College star.
"That visit went really well," Kongbo told InsideTennessee. "We went out and got some ice cream and that was neat. They reiterated that they had a need for me. I could come in and obviously compete for playing time. It looked pretty good to me."
The meeting was the second time in two weeks Kongbo spoke with the first-year Tennessee defensive coordinator in person after he and Stripling flew out to visit him Jan. 19. Shoop's pitch to the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder revolved heavily around his aggressive scheme that wants to put Kongbo in the position to utilize his enormous, athletic frame. Coaches like Shoop rave about their potential defensive lineman's athleticism and speed off the edge, something Shoop and company want to highlight with formations that cater to his unique skill set.
"He just kind of told me that he has an attacking style of defense and he would put me in the right position for me to make plays," Kongbo said. "My speed, power, they just say I'm the complete pacakge. (With) my versatility, I could play outside linebacker, I could play defensive end. The things I'm able to do and my physical attributes separate me from others."
After meeting with Tennessee's staff Thursday, Kongbo made the trek to Tallahassee for an official visit to Florida State, one of the other schools that landed on his final four list along with Ole Miss, USC and the Vols.
"The visit went really well. I had a good time," Kongbo told IT. "They kind of explained what Florida State had to offer. We took a tour around campus. I really liked it. I thought the campus was real beautiful. I got to meet with the criminology department. It went really well."
But despite FSU being the freshest program in his mind, the junior college standout doesn't believe it will affect his decision when it comes time to trim the list down to his final choice.
"I don't think so, because I remember all my visits," Kongbo said. "I stopped at USC, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Florida State. You can't go off feels or emotions. You've just got to look at the facts of things."
All four schools are still in play at the moment, and Kongbo believes he'll have a decision made by Sunday or Monday. Once he determines what college will get his services, the highly-coveted star will make his official announcement on Feb. 3.
"Actually right now, at this point, I'm looking through the pros and cons at each school," he said. "Hopefully I'll have a decision made by probably tonight or tomorrow and just wait it out."
Stadiums filled with rabid fans or impressive facilties aren't the way to win Kongbo over. Kongbo, who transfered to Arizona Western from Wyoming, doesn't bother with the trappings of high-profile college football.
"I'm not really concerned about faciltiies," he told IT. "As long as they have a weight room and there's weights in there, I'm not concerned with how it looks. I've been in college before, so after a while, it's not so glamorous anymore. It's just every-day work."
The redshirt freshman, who has three years of eligibility remaining, has proven to his coaches what he can do on the field. At Arizona Western this season, Kongbo recorded 49 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, and recovered a fumble to earn First Team All-Conference honors. Now it's up to the programs he's weighing to show what they can do for him.
When it comes down to it, Kongbo wants three key opportunities: a healthy atmosphere inside the locker room, a chance to see the field right away and an ability to get a good education.
"The kind of thing that sticks out to me is the environment, the guys on the team. Also, an opportunity for me to come in and play. Those are the two biggest things that I'm looking at," Kongbo said. "Obviously the football aspect and the academic as well [are what I'm concentrated on]. I just want to get the best opportunity at both."