Villanova, Wissahickon High School star, headed to the Super Bowl

Jamie Apody Image
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

AMBLER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Long before Tanoh Kpassagnon was sacking quarterbacks in the AFC Championship game for the Kansas City Chiefs, he was playing defensive end at Wissahickon High School in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

"To see him now, what he's done to get to the NFL and now playing the Super Bowl, the top game in all of the world, it's really neat," said Jeff Cappa who was Kpassagnon's high school coach and junior high math teacher.

Cappa says despite his 6'7", 240-pound frame, nobody was recruiting him. Cue Villanova coach Mark Ferrante.

"Can you say that when you first met him you though, well here's a guy that's going to be playing Super Bowl Sunday?" asked sports reporter Jamie Apody.

"Well... no," laughed Ferrante.

The coach went to the high school to recruit another player when he was told about Tanoh.

"We got to bump into him a little bit and say hello, and I see this 6'6", 6'7" guy walking down the hallway and I'm like, we need to take a look at this guy," recalled Ferrante.

And the rest is history. After a stellar Pro Day Kpassagnon went on to be a second-round draft pick for Kansas City, and will line up against the 49ers on Super Bowl Sunday in the biggest game of them all.

"It's great, Tanoh's worked really hard to get to where he is today, and to have known him in high school and then all the years he's been with us. For him to be going to the Super Bowl is really exciting," said Ferrante.

Believe it or not, the last Villanova player to hoist the Lombardi Trophy was Howie Long in 1984, when the Raiders won Super Bowl LXIII.

Coach Ferrante hopes Kpassagnon is the next, a week from Sunday.

"Well it would be great, I'd be so happy for him. The Eagles just had one, you remember what the city was like. So it would be great to see him go out and win the big game," says Ferrante.

And at Wissahickon, where his picture graces the Wall of Fame, that feeling will be mutual.

"To see him holding the ultimate prize will be like Wissahickon holding the ultimate prize," said Ferrante.