PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — From Villanova University to the Super Bowl, local product Tanoh Kpassagnon has an unbelievable story, thanks to Wildcats head coach Mark Ferante. He was actually visiting Kpassagnon’s high school to recruit a different player when they met and the rest is history.
Before playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kpassagnon was a three-sport athlete at Wissahickon High School. It took him some time to decide that football was for him, but when Ferante saw him, he knew.
“So I walked into Wissahickon High School, and Coach Kappa and Larry Cannon asked me to look at their big tight end/defensive end,” Ferante explained. “So this 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7 guy comes walking down the hall and I said, ‘Is this the gentleman you are talking about? Yeah, I’d be happy to meet that guy.'”
After red-shirting his freshman year, Kpassagnon blossomed over his final two seasons at Villanova.
“His second year he started playing some, but the third year is when it really clicked,” Ferante said. “And his last two years with us, he was just really good. His last year most teams tried to run away from him, to be honest with you.”
The defensive end is now finally showing what he’s capable of.
“I know there’s still a big upside for him. When we get him, he’s 17, 18 years old and we see huge growth when we see him leave here at 22,” Ferante said. “But that 22- to 27-year-old phase is when they become men and he’s in that phase now.”
For Kpassagnon, the Super Bowl can’t come soon enough.
“You can tell everyone has a good energy and we are just excited to play this game. We were ready last Sunday honestly,” Kpassagnon said. “But like Coach Reid would say, keep it cool, calm, even keel, until you are ready to hit ’em and boom, yeah.”
Kpassagnon, who has beaten the odds to even make it to the NFL, will be on the national stage this Sunday, needing only to beat the San Francisco 49ers to be immortalized as a Super Bowl champion.