JJ Kohl

2023 Ankeny Centennial QB JJ Kohl surveys the field during a game against Southeast Polk in 2020. 

At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, JJ Kohl looks the part of a major college quarterback. The Ankeny (IA) High sophomore signal caller is showing with his performance this spring that he's headed toward that goal. 

Kohl captured quarterback MVP honors at the Ohio Under Armour regional combine in April. He finished fourth in the Nike Elite 11 QB combine earlier this month in Indianapolis. Only '22 Drew Allar (Penn State verbal commitment), '22 Luther Richesson (Michigan St., Cincinnati offers) and '24 CJ Carr (Michigan, Michigan St. offers) scored better at the event. 

Efforts this spring have raised Kohl's recruiting stock and led to summer camp invites, where he can show off his talents. He's scheduled to be at Iowa Football's prospect camp on June 6. 

"Iowa and I have been in touch multiple times since the Under Armour camp in Ohio," Kohl told HN. "It has been good to be able to start the process of getting to know each other. They’ve stated it’s important to get to one of their summer camps. I know this summer will be an important part of the evaluation process."

In addition to working out in front of the Hawkeye staff, Kohl plans on camping at Alabama, Iowa State, Missouri, Texas A&M, Florida State, Penn State, Nebraska, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas State and Kansas. There could be others. 

"I think it will be important to show arm strength, and touch and timing on throws. I think the reason Elite 11 and Under Armour camps went well is that coaches saw me move and throw on the move. I’m hoping the progress I’m seeing in the weight room and in my flying 10s times will show up at camp," he said. 

Kohl attended spring games at Illinois and Iowa. He could not meet with coaches or tour facilities due to the recruiting dead period, which was scheduled to end June 1. 

He had his eye on Ankeny Centennial High graduate Riley Moss and Arland Bruce IV from Ankeny High performing at the Hawkeye workout. 

"I was impressed. I know both guys since they played football in Ankeny. I thought the QBs did a nice job throughout the drills and situations they were put in. It was good to see how the practice was run and the support from the fans," he said.    

Kohl's parents attended Iowa State. His father, Jamie Kohl, founded one of the country's most prominent football specialist camps, Kohl's Kicking, following his stint kicking for the Cyclones. It's trained numerous athletes who've gone on to college and NFL success, and he became the Chicago Bears kicking coach in '19. 

Experiencing what his father does for a living aids JJ Kohl. 

"I feel that it’s helped me understand how football works at the higher levels. It’s definitely competitive, which is what makes actually being a starter such an honor. I think it’s helped me understand how hard you have to work to get a chance," JJ said.

"I did not have any schools reach out until the Under Armour camp. So recruiting wise, he hasn’t really done a lot for me. He’s always said coaches will choose who they feel will best help them win and help them maintain their job. He has helped me understand a lot of the recruiting communication."

With his dad and mom, Charlene, being Iowa State alums, JJ said he grew up rooting for the Cyclones. Jamie has had plenty of contact with the Hawkeyes, however, having coached former Iowa specialists Dylan Kidd, Keith Duncan and others. JJ met Iowa special teams coach LeVar Woods at the Bears' facilities a few years ago. 

"Getting to know those guys has made it easier to cheer for Iowa. Marshall Koehn has especially pushed me to like Iowa. We did a weeklong road trip to Texas together one spring break when he was pursuing his NFL career," JJ recalled.

"Everyday he would nudge me towards becoming a Hawkeye fan. I’m not sure if he was just trying to pick on a seventh-grader or really trying to win me over. He was a great guy though."

JJ has attended Hawkeye games in recent years. His older sister, Maddie, has chosen to attend Iowa in the fall. 

Next month's college prospect camps represent a major step in JJ's recruitment process. It's when programs extend scholarship offers after watching quarterbacks throw. 

"This summer could go in any direction. I'm excited for the 6th of June (at Iowa's camp)," he said.