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Kingsley Jonathan was the first overall pick in the Canadian Football League draft on Tuesday, taken by the Montreal Alouettes.
Jonathan played five seasons at Syracuse, recording 101 tackles, 15 sacks and three forced fumbles. In 2021, he had three sacks against Boston College, tied for the eighth-most single-game sacks in school history in a single game. At his pro day on March 31, Jonathan ran a 4.76 40-yard dash, jumped 10 feet on the broad jump and recorded 28 bench press reps.
In 2021, he appeared in all 12 games for SU, starting one. He had 20 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. In 2020, Jonathan recorded 32 tackles (25 solo), 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, a forced fumble, four quarterback hurries and three pass deflections. He was a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy both years, an honor awarded to a college football player with the best combination of academics, community service and on-field performance.
As a junior in 2019, Jonathan had at least one tackle in 10 games and tied his career high with four tackles in the season finale against Wake Forest. In 2017 and 2018, Jonathan played in 21 games, starting two. He started in the Camping World Bowl against West Virginia in 2018 and equaled his personal best with four tackles, including one for a loss.
“He has no governor,” head coach Dino Babers said, referring to the speed regulator on tour buses. “I love him. I absolutely love him.”
Jonathan emigrated from Lagos, Nigeria, to the U.S., but he was involved in an alleged human trafficking scheme. He ended up at Eastern Alamance, notching 104 tackles — including eight for a loss — five sacks, three pass deflections, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery as a junior.
“He came in not knowing everyone and just by his actions being a great guy, he drew others,” Eastern Alamance head coach John Kirby said. “His motor ran hard and he always stayed to try to learn.”
In his senior year, Jonathan was under head coach Henry Russell at St. Frances Academy. He graduated 24th overall among defensive ends in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals.com. He tallied 65 tackles and 16 sacks, leading the team to an MIAA Class A title.
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