116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Ankeny’s J.J. Kohl and Jamison Patton connected for six touchdowns this season, but they’ll need to wait a while to reconnect as Iowa State Cyclones in 2023.
Kohl, a consensus four-star quarterback, will be an early enrollee at ISU. Patton, a standout receiver and safety, will join the program after the regular school year ends.
Both, however, will bring high-end talent to their respective rooms for football coach Matt Campbell’s Cyclones, who seek to rebound from their first losing season (4-8) since 2016.
“There’s been a little bit of change, just with the (offensive staff) coaching changes, but I’ve been talking with Campbell and (new offensive coordinator Nate) Scheelhaase a lot, and they’ve been talking me through what their plans are, what their intentions are,” the 6-foot-7 Kohl said.
That’s to win again — and sooner rather than later. Kohl and Patton figure to play key roles in helping ISU revive its winning ways even as true freshmen in a program that was one of the most youthful in FBS last season.
Patton, a 6-2, 195-pound former quarterback, is one of four safeties in the Class of 2023 for the Cyclones, who fielded the Big 12’s best defense last season.
“I feel like the sky’s the limit,” Patton said of next season’s defensive backfield in particular. “I’m just super excited to get with the guys and start training with them. Just being around them. I feel like once we start doing that brotherhood, the sky’s the limit.”
Kohl — the son of former ISU place-kicker Jamie Kohl — is the highest-rated member of the Cyclones’ class. He’s been tabbed to play in the Jan. 3 Under Armour Next All-America Game at Orlando, Fla., and totaled 22 touchdowns (17 passing, five rushing) as a senior for the Hawks. He’s also one of five central Iowans to sign with ISU last week as part of a class ranked No. 41 nationally by 247 Sports.
“To be able to get to the finish line here and to be able to start this journey with this team coming back in January, and some of these guys in June, it’s really powerful,” Campbell said. “I think it is the story. A lot of that is a credit to the players in our program. I think when you bring recruits into your program, the thing that I always say is, ‘Man, don’t listen to what we have to say as coaches. Get around our kids. See what they say. What’s their experience look like and feel like?’
“And we have great kids here and they believe in what’s going on and (are) appreciative of that.”
That’s evident in one of the Cyclones’ highest-rated recruiting class ever. It’s also backed up by the multitude of starters who are slated to return next season — as well as the addition of college transfers Arlen Harris Jr. (running back), Zach Lovett (linebacker) and Jayden Higgins (wide receiver).
As for Patton, he received offers from several other schools, including Iowa, UCLA and Kansas State, but yearned to join Kohl in Ames and got his wish.
“I think the biggest thing about that guy is that guy is gonna have a chance to come in here and compete right away because he knows how to compete at a high level,” Campbell said of Patton.