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‘Don’t Quit’ Mentality Helps Kohlhoff Become Kentucky Commit

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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‘Don’t Quit’ Mentality Helps Kohlhoff Become Kentucky Commit

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Keagen Kohlhoff RHP / OF / IMG Academy , MI / 2025

BIRCH RUN - If anyone had not heard of Keagen Kohlhoff, his performance at the Future Games certainly opened some eyes. The 74th-rated junior right-handed pitcher in the country topped out at 93.4 with his fastball at the event and numerous colleges from the top conferences in the country took notice.

“It all started with a huge opportunity to play at the Future Games,” Kohlhoff said about his recruiting process that has the recently-turned 17-year-old now a Kentucky commit. “When my parents heard I had an invitation it wasn’t whether I was going to do it or not, it was you’re going to do it.

“I pitched well and to my knowledge it was the first time Kentucky saw me. On Aug. 1, I believe I had 30 schools reach out. Kentucky was the one that never stopped poking their head in and I liked that. They took the time to check in.”

Going to high school this year at IMG also allowed the fourth-rated 2025 RHP in Michigan to get more exposure.

“I’ve pitched well here and the word’s getting out,” noted Kohlhoff, who listed Baylor, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee among the schools that have shown interest since the Future Games.

But the hard-throwing right-hander felt Kentucky was the right choice to make.

“I decided I wanted to go to Kentucky,” Kohlhoff explained. “It’s closer to home, it’s in the SEC and it’s a good school that cares about its players. When they offered on the phone I couldn’t say no. I always dreamed of playing in the SEC and the coaches really care about me as a person. It just comes down to that, and where I believe I will get the best opportunity.”

UK saw a lot to like about the 6-2 210-pounder.

“They like my tenacity on the mound, my bulldog mentality,” Kohlhoff related. “I don’t tip-toe around, I go out and attack. That’s what they want in a pitcher and how I envision pitching should be.”

Early on in life, Kohlhoff had other aspirations in sports.

“Growing up I thought I’d be a football player or wrestler,” Kohlhoff reflected. “But at the age of 14, I decided I wanted to go with pitching. I have the two greatest parents and they took my word on it, that that’s what I was going to do. They gave me every opportunity to be in the right place with the right crowd to do it.”

A growth spurt during spring of sophomore year proved vital.

“I went from 5-9 170 to 6-2 210 in a couple of months,” Kohlhoff noted.

Improvement came with it.

“A lot of it started in the weight room,” Kohlhoff explained. “You can’t control height but two things you can control are attitude and effort. I started taking myself seriously and didn’t need external validation that I can do this. It was about going out and doing it. I went to the weight room six days a week. I reached out to people that have been there, trying to stay one step ahead of others, talking to every pitching coach I could in the state.”

While the recruiting process “got real after the Future Games,” it was prior to the new rule that Kohlhoff was talking with schools like Minnesota and Xavier before getting his first D-I offer from Memphis.

“It was very stressful,” the fifth-ranked 2025 in Michigan admitted about his recruiting experience. “I’m a very organized person, I love structure, and the recruiting process is not structured at all. My parents said to calm down. I got a lot of help from them and PBR. Adam (Goodwin, PBR Michigan Director of Scouting) was the first one to mention Kentucky and he was definitely right.”

There were others that Kohlhoff credited with being influences in his baseball journey, advisor DJ Peterson, USA Prime Michigan coach Christian Penn and his uncle Kelly Savage.

“He used to go into the gym with me before school,” Kohlhoff said of his uncle. “He engraved the ‘don’t quit’ mentality in me. He was at the gym every morning with me at 4 o’clock.”

It has Kohlhoff confident about what he can provide the program at Kentucky.

“Exactly what they want me to bring, someone who will do whatever it takes to get THAT spot,” Kohlhoff said. “I hope others see that and we create the best pitching staff in the SEC, the best pitching staff in the country.”

Making a commitment official was “super exciting” according to the 260th-ranked junior in the nation.

“I remember calling my mom telling her I have a call with Kentucky and they may be offering,” Kohlhoff said. “She wanted me to go there and I had her support and my dad’s. It was an amazing offer.

“I called my mom after to tell her and she was ecstatic. I told her at 14 that I was going to do this and now at 17 I did. Parents dream about that for their kids, and to see it happen … they were just ecstatic.”

Sports science or kinesiology are potential majors for Kohlhoff, a 3.3 student ready for life as a college student/athlete.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing in the SEC, the biggest stage there is, and competing for a College World Series,” Kohlhoff concluded. “Nothing would complete my college baseball journey more than that.”

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