(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Before the 2016 season began, Kody Kohl was the popular pick by many to be the breakout player for the Sun Devils.
After all, he had shown some signs over the past couple of seasons of being mentioned in the same conversation as past Arizona State tight ends such as Todd Heap and Chris Coyle.
While the comparison largely depends on how Kohl finishes his senior year, it did have some merit to it. He has collected 48 receptions for 535 yards during the last two seasons, scoring four touchdowns each of those years.
If you want to base the criteria for living up to those expectations off of receptions and receiving yards, as it stands right now, Kohl has a long way to go to if he wants to achieve some of those lofty hopes.
It would be easy to lament Kohl for the offensive numbers he has put up so far this season (two total catches for 67 yards), but as is often the case, those statistics don’t tell the whole story. Instead Kohl has been transformed into a more dynamic player in Chip Lindsey’s offense that makes his contributions stretch far beyond the stat sheet.
“I have a mindset every day to come and hit,” Kohl said. “Every day, instead of making plays, I go block, and that’s the goal right there.”
His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Todd Graham has mentioned him on multiple occasions as one of the unsung heroes when it comes to blocking on the line. With the emphasis more on the run within the offense, he has had plenty of opportunities to show what he’s got as a blocker.
A reasonable question to consider when looking at Kohl’s stats is how his chemistry has been with new quarterback Manny Wilkins. Last season, with Mike Bercovici under center, Kohl received significantly more looks in the red zone. Kohl mentioned that he doesn’t think it has to do with chemistry between him and Wilkins, it’s just more of a byproduct of how the offense is run.
He mentioned that another factor for why he hasn’t been as prevalent catching passes within the 20-yard-line is because more often than not ASU has elected to run.
“We haven’t done too much in the red zone with me yet,” Kohl said. “Hopefully that’s comes, but we’ll see.”
However, it all goes back to his transformation into a new kind of player for his senior year. It’s only three games into the season, so to see Kohl getting back to his 2014 and 2015 self isn’t out of the question. Yet, no matter where the rest of his senior season takes him, Kohl has made his contributions to the offense in a way that is more than just catching passes.
-Linebacker Marcus Ball was limited during practice, while D.J. Calhoun did not participate.
-Graham said that they are expecting Salamo Fiso and George Lea back for Saturday and are hoping to get Christian Sam back as well.