Talking with Kohl Hollinquest one would never know about his
NFL bloodlines, he may never bring it up unless someone asks, and even then who
knows. One would only know about his quest to overcome numerous personal odds
to blaze a path for himself on the gridiron. Hollinquest’s early story is one
that is just beginning but one of self sacrifice, hard work, and determination.
Hollinquest’s football journey started in Kansas
City playing for Pembroke
High School. As a
freshman the now 6’3”, 205 pounder, was thrust into a starting role playing
running back. Doing what was best for the team, and giving up the option to be
just a quarterback or even a backup quarterback, the freshman excelled.
A move from Missouri to Los Angeles found
Hollinquest having to reassert himself all over again, and doing something for
the betterment of the team not of his own benefit.
The Trailblazers had a tough season on the gridiron in 2013.
Despite some top talent on the squad injuries hampered the team from reaching
full potential, case in point an offseason injury to quarterback talent
Hollinquest. The Class of 2016 recruit had a devastating injury tearing his
triceps from his ulna. While running an out route he came down perfectly, and
horribly, on his arm to cause the devastating injury, one that required a
titanium plate in his arm as part of his recovery.
The injury forced Hollinquest to miss three-fourths of Sierra Canyon’s
2013 season but when he returned the Chatsworth, California team just happened to go 3-1 making
the playoffs and finishing the year 5-7 with him playing tight end, a position
he had never played but took on just to get back on the field.
Kohl could have opted to sit the rest of the year to focus
on playing quarterback in 2014 but, again, did what was best for the team and
played despite not being 100 percent healed from his arm injury.
In a one-on-one interview with the budding Sierra Canyon
star, Hollinquest opened up about transferring from Kansas
City, Missouri to Los Angeles and coming back from an injury
all with an eye to the future.
Canyon had a rougher season
than most thought they would last year, what happened?
“We did decently well. We had a lot of injuries and with
only 35 players on the team we were missing a lot of talent on the field. I
think we had seven players hurt and four who could not play because of California transfer
rules. Still we played tough making the playoffs but lost in second round to Monrovia (62-10).”
To make up for some missed time on the field are you
attending any camps this summer?
“I attended the USC and Princeton
camp. I’m heading to the Harvard camp this weekend. I’m also attending the New
England Elite Camp July 1-2.”
How did the USC camp go for you?
“I thought it went really well for me. I feel I separated
myself from the other quarterbacks at the camp. I was accurate and got the ball
out quickly. I’m good at predicting what will happen with the defenses and when
the receiver will be open.”
Did you learn any new skills at the camp that will be
helpful for you going forward?
“I learned how to better keep the safety where he needs to
be while the play develops.”
How do the Trailblazers look going into the 2014 season?
“We’re looking pretty good. All of our starters can play
now. We’ve picked up a lot of good players as transfers and the freshmen class
is getting better. I think we’ll be good this year.”
What is the strength of this year’s football team?
“Our complicated offense and all the combinations we can do
with it. Also how smart we are running the offense. I’ve never seen an offense
more complicated in my life. So many things we have to read and look for from
the defense before we get the ball off. We have a lot of different things we
can run to keep the defense guessing.”
Who are some of the Sierra Canyon
players fans should watch for this season?
“Isaiah Renfro (6’2”, 193 lbs) is one player to watch. He’s
an All-American wide receiver selected to the Navy-US Army game. He’s heading
We have a transfer from Westlake,
defensive end Hunter Mattox (6’5”, 255 lbs) who should be great for us. Running
back Kaizer Butler (6’0”, 194 lbs) and both our corners, Bobby Cole and Eric Markes, are other players that fans should watch.”
What are your strengths on the field?
“I’m smart and I feel that I’m good at being consistent at
getting the ball out or picking up yards with my feet when needed. I practice
my footwork a lot, always trying to get better. I know I still have a lot to
learn. Another strength of mine is I can fit the ball in any window I need to
get it into.”
What are your personal goals for the 2014 football season?
“Develop my role as a quarterback and help my team do
anything I can to win. That’s what it all comes down to, winning.”
Are you competing for the starting quarterback job or is
that all yours?
“There is a competition between another sophomore and
myself. I feel my chances to be the starter is 60-40 towards him. He’s been with
the team since the seventh grade and knows the system. I came in the ninth
grade season and I’m still learning.”
After your injury you came back to play tight end, any
chance you will be moved to tight end again this season?
“For me I want to stay competitive at quarterback. I’d like
to focus on quarterback and not moving to tight end.”
Is there a college or NFL player you model your game after?
“I like watching Cam Newton. I feel that I am most similar
to him, personality and physically. I feel like I can be like him. I like his
swag and how he plays, and the confidence that he plays with.”
What college programs are your favorites?
“My No. 1 is Stanford. Oregon is my favorite team to watch. Princeton, Brown, USC, and UCLA would be the other
schools I really like.”
Based off your list of schools one can assume academics are
important to you then?
“Yes, I carry a 3.9 GPA and take honors classes.”
Have you had an experience in your life that has inspired
you with your football career?
“When I broke my leg (eighth grade year) that showed me when
something stops you from what you want you have to fight forward and go forward
from there. Don’t always look back. You got to look forward to make it better.”
Who has made the biggest impact on your football career to
“My mom has had the biggest impact. She moved my sister and
me out here to California
and she’s providing everything we need for a great life. I’ve been able to
focus on sports and school. She’s taking care of us. The ways she’s helped me
with football is amazing.”
Throughout the entire interview Kohl’s focus was all about
football and the career he is trying to make for himself. Not once did he drop
the fact that his father and Godfather are former USC and NFL players and his cousin is high-profile NFL superstar Richard Sherman (Stanford, Seattle Seahawks).
Kohl’s dad, Lamont Hollinquest, played linebacker for USC
from 1988-1991, before leaving for a five year NFL career with the Washington
Redskins and Packers winning the Super Bowl with Green Bay in 1997. Godfather Willie McGinest played defensive end for
the Trojans for three years (1990-1993) earning Pac-8 All-Conference honors all
three years before embarking on a 15-year NFL career that included two Pro
Bowls and three Super Bowl Championships with the New England Patriots
(1994-2005) before retiring as a member of the Cleveland Browns (2006-2008).
An athletic bloodline is one thing to have while playing
high school football but Kohl does not seem to be happy with settling for raw
athleticism to carry him to the next level. Hard work, determination, and
overcoming odds were a reoccurring theme during his interview giving no doubt
that this Hollinquest is sure to make a name for himself on the national level
with some lucky college football program in the near future.