In time, South Grand Prairie safety Atanza Vongor is going to learn the meaning of his given name.
“It’s my grandfather’s name,” he said.
His mother wants to wait.
“She told me I’ll tell you when the time is right,” he said. “So I’m kind of waiting.”
For now, at least to TCU fans, it means the name of a four-star safety expected to soon join the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth.
Vongor is one of 19 recruits pledged to the Frogs’ 2018 signing class and one of five four-star commitments.
A three-day early signing period for football begins Wednesday, and Vognor will sign at 8:30 a.m. in the office of SGP head coach Brent Whitson.
Vongor’s parents are Liberian and also gave him a middle name, Sonkolay, with meaning.
“My dad was an officer in Liberia, which went through a civil war, and his friend named Sonkolay was killed,” Vongor said in an interview Friday at South Grand Prairie. “My dad ended up escaping, eventually being able to leave and come to America. He told me the name means ‘man with no wrong.’ ”
Liberia suffered through a 15-year civil war in which more than 250,000 people were killed.
Vongor spoke proudly about his parents’ journey to the United States in the late 1980s and their sacrifices for him and his brothers. His family includes two older brothers, one playing college football at Lamar and another in school at UT Arlington.
Vongor said his father was a soccer player, but he himself gravitated toward basketball, then football. He said as a sixth-grader, he used to make his way into workouts with older football players, even running bleachers afterward.
Eventually, he saw some of the players move on to college, like safety Jason Hall to Texas, receiver Jaelan Austin to TCU, cornerback Caesar Williams to Wisconsin and linebacker Chase Napoleon to Tulane.
“I knew I wanted that to happen for me,” Vongor said. “Freshman year, I was working hard trying to move up to varsity. After I got moved up, I was like, this could be a reality. I felt I had a big sophomore year. A&M was the first school that came calling. SMU came, then Iowa. A&M was my first offer. It was just a blessing. I saw that hard work had benefits.”
Vognor was the third commitment to the 2018 class, but the first four-star in what could be TCU’s highest-ranked signing class ever.
“That’s awesome, just seeing what Coach P has done and what that coaching staff has done over the years with players who maybe had one offer out of high school or weren’t ranked,” Vognor said. “Seeing what he did with those guys and now bringing in top recruits? That’s awesome.”
Vognor knows he’s a four-star player, but he tries to forget it.
“I’m a person that likes to humble myself and just grind every day,” he said. “Just work and try to prove myself on the field. It’s a new practice every day. I try to prove myself to my coaches and teammates. That’s the kind of person that I am.”