Sun Devil fans have seen what a good tight end can do for an offense. There was the “Golden Retriever” Todd Heap, who ran around and through Pac-10 opponents on his way to being a first-round pick with the Ravens. Zach Miller or “The Truth” as some of the Sun Devil faithful knew him, was a favorite target for Andrew Walter and Rudy Carpenter. Under the current Todd Graham regime, the barehanded-wonder Chris Coyle was a staple of the Sun Devil offense in Graham’s first two years in Tempe.
Now there is Kody Kohl.
The Mesquite High School product who, like Miller, had an older brother on the roster at the same position, finds himself as one of the familiar faces for quarterback Mike Bercovici to target in the 2015.
Kohl established himself as a reliable option within the Sun Devil offense late last year, catching a touchdown in each of the last three regular season games.
“For me, it was everything,” Kohl said. “It was just about building confidence and knowing that I can do it. It felt like the quarterback trusts me and Coach Norvell did so going into the offseason, it helped a lot knowing that I’m going to get the ball more this year. I can help the team much more.”
Kohl did just that in the offseason and continued to impress his quarterback.
“I think if there is a skill position player that is not being talked about enough, it’s Kody Kohl,” Bercovici said.
“I think in our fall camp, our defense will tell you, you don’t want to see 83 coming across the backfield. And the best part about it is he might be one of the best route runners that we have.”
Apologies to Game of Thrones, but recognition is coming.
Kohl has two touchdown receptions in as many games in the 2015 campaign: the first Sun Devil touchdown of the season from Bercovici in a loss to Texas A&M and a fourth quarter go-ahead touchdown in a win against Cal Poly.
With running back Demario Richard back for his sophomore campaign mixed with backfield touches for D.J Foster and newcomer Gump Hayes and Kalen Ballage’s eventual return from mono, the Sun Devils know they can set the tone with their running game.
Enter Kohl again.
When he isn’t navigating his way through the opponent’s secondary, he is setting the edge for the backfield.
“This offseason, I was working on the one-man sled. Footwork is everything, and I was perfecting my craft and my technique,” Kohl said. “I’m not the biggest tight end out there so technique and strength (is crucial).”
The redshirt junior has spent as much time in the program as Todd Graham, witnessing and learning under Chris Coyle, who ended his career with 92 catches and nine touchdowns. He knows the role the tight end can play within this coaching staff’s offense and hopes he can provide the stability for Mike Bercovici that Coyle did for Taylor Kelly.
“The tight ends are doing more passes and getting more, so it’s even more exciting to see the success that Chris had and only imagining I can do the same or better because you always want to be the best you can be,” Kohl said.
“If I could hold a record at ASU, that would be great.”
Through two games, Kohl seems to be well on his way.