By Charles Wulf
TEMPE, Ariz. — With less than two weeks until Arizona State’s opener against Texas A&M in Houston, tight end Kody Kohl is ready to rumble.
The 6’3” 225-pound redshirt junior out of Gilbert, Arizona isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. In fact, he says he enjoys doing the dirty work. When asked about what he likes about Norvell’s offense, Kohl said:
“I like that I get to hit a lot, personally. [As tight ends,] We kind of do the dirty work a lot and we also get to do skill work. So, we play as linemen and we also play as receivers.”
Last season, Kohl caught 16 passes for 167 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games. Although those aren’t eye-popping numbers, Kohl had a strong finish to the season and caught three touchdowns in the last four games. In 2015, Kohl should be more involved in the offense as a play maker and a leader.
“I think it has changed a lot in terms of leadership and just being a playmaker this year. So, if they call my number I need to make the play and that’s a big thing,” Kohl said.
Having grown up in Arizona, Kohl wasted no time committing to the Devils once he was offered a scholarship.
“Yeah I was quick [to commit] because my dad played here for a year and my brother played here for four, so it was a dream to play here,” Kohl said. “I just wanted to follow in their footsteps and as soon as ASU offered, I was in. It was one of the better feelings in my life.”
After being immersed at ASU for four years, Kohl believes his time in Tempe has made him more mature off the field and in the classroom.
“I came in, I was immature. I didn’t take care of school and stuff,” Kohl said after practice. “I’d say just growing up is my biggest improvement so far.”
On the field, Kohl has become a better route runner. After practice ended Wednesday, Kohl and wide receiver Devin Lucien were getting in some extra work by running routes and catching passes from Mike Bercovici.
“I would say [my] route running [has improved]. This year especially, they’re [coaching staff] starting to see that and I really worked on it this summer.”
The coaches have noticed. After practice on Thursday, Coach Todd Graham praised Kohl’s offseason work and said he was impressed by the noticeable improvement in his game.
“The other thing I’m excited about in our passing game is Kody [Kohl], and I’m not going to lie to you, that surprised me,” Graham said. “I thought Kody was a solid tight end. He just improved so much in the offseason and in the Spring. He got so much faster, so much better at route running. I really think he’s got the potential to have a breakout year.”
While Kohl isn’t the biggest vocal leader in the Sun Devil locker room, his soft spoken demeanor should not be mistaken for a lack of confidence. He doesn’t seemed worried at all about the pressure and hype that surrounds the Devils’ opener against Texas A&M.
“I love the pressure most of the time when people are yelling and talking smack,” Kohl said. “That motivates me, it doesn’t really get in my head so if they do it that’s their fault.”
Kohl, like most of the team, can’t wait to face off with the Aggies in NRG Stadium in Houston on September 5. There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to his mindset heading into the first game of the season.
“Just go out there and destroy them. Don’t think and just go 100 mile per hour,” Kohl said. “I want them to feel pain after we’re done with them. I want them to regret having us scheduled. I want them to hurt after we play them. That’s our mindset.”