PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Khyiris Tonga is considered to be one of the best run stuffers available in the NFL Draft. But the former BYU defensive tackle wants to prove he is more that that.
Tonga, who goes 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, also wants to be known as a guy who can get to the quarterback.
“That’s something that’s been talked about,” Tonga said. “I feel confident that I can definitely be a pass rusher and not just a run stopper. That’s definitely something I would love to work on. Hopefully by the time I’m in the league I can have the opportunity to showcase that skill.”
Tonga could have entered the NFL Draft after the 2019 season, but he wanted to improve his draft stock with one more season at BYU. And that’s just what he did, recording 35 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Tonga said he got better by going against a great Cougar offensive line day in and day out in practice.
“We’ve seen it throughout the season this past year, the dominance of our o-line,” Tonga said. “What they showed against every team we played against, it’s been good we’ve been able to go against them every single day and be confident in our play against other offensive linemen.”
A number of teams are interested in Tonga’s skill set, and were impressed by his performance at BYU’s Pro Day. It also helps that several recent BYU defensive players have had success in the NFL, like Fred Warner with the 49ers, Sione Takitaki with the Browns, Michael Davis with the Chargers and Harvey Langi with the Jets.
“I was hitting up former players who have gone through the process,” Tonga said. “Sione Takitaki, Harvey Langi and some of the veterans. I’ve been asking how everything is, and they did a very good job with me prepping and getting my mind right to focus on what I needed to focus on and to just block out the noise. My family helped with that and being able to stay focused and pay attention to detail.”
Tonga is expected to be drafted in the mid to late rounds of the NFL Draft, which begins April 29th on ABC4.