This Sunday (Nov. 24), Surrey’s Jonathan Kongbo will battle for a Grey Cup in his first year as a pro football player.
The six-foot-six rookie defensive end overcame a serious right-knee injury at the start of the CFL season to play for a league championship with Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Kongbo, a Holy Cross Regional High School grad, had a pair of tackles in the Bombers’ 20-13 win over Saskatchewan Roughriders in last Sunday’s Western Conference final. For the season so far, he has recorded 14 tackles and two sacks in 14 games (regular season and playoffs).
In Sunday’s Grey Cup final, Winnipeg will face Hamilton Tiger Cats at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium, starting at 3 p.m. Pacific.
The Bombers made Kongbo the fifth-overall pick in last spring’s CFL Entry Draft.
With the Tennessee Volunteers of the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference (SEC) last season, the hulking “King” Kongbo tore the ACL in his right knee during a game against Auburn in October of 2018, ending his senior season and, ultimately, his dream of being drafted by an NFL team this year.
While at Holy Cross, Kongbo was something of an accidental football star, a guy who hadn’t played the game until Grade 12 at the Fleetwood-area Catholic school. He’d been a basketball player at Kitsilano Secondary until transferring to Holy Cross, where the Crusaders’ coaches eventually coaxed him to try football, a game he didn’t embrace at first but says he now loves.
From Holy Cross he went to junior college in Wyoming and Arizona Western before joining the Vols in Tennessee, where he played prime-time games against some of the biggest-name teams in college football – Alabama Crimson Tide, Georgia Bulldogs, LSU Tigers and the like.