Why Ballard's Kale Krogh, an Iowa Hawkeye recruit, was born to play football

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

HUXLEY, Ia. — Sometimes Ballard junior right tackle Parker Becker just has to sit back and laugh during football practice.

The Bombers will be doing drills and one of the underclassmen will get lined up on the opposite side against senior left tackle Kale Krogh.

Krogh stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 270 pounds. He has a powerful build with tremendous acceleration out of his stance, phenomenal quickness and athleticism, a great motor for a guy his size and the desire to punish his opponent.

Predictably, the end result isn't pretty for anyone unfortunate or unwise enough to take on the future Iowa Hawkeye.

"I’ve got a lot of guys in my grade that try to go up against him and I give them a lot of crap when they get pancaked or pushed over," Becker said.  "It’s funny watching guys try to go up against him. When you do go against him, you either go low or you get pushed on your butt."

It's clear from watching him: Krogh was born to play football.

He's been playing in the Bomber program since third grade. His dad inspired him. Kyle Krogh played rugby in college at Iowa. Krogh wanted to follow in father's footsteps, but Kyle wasn't too keen on the idea. 

"My dad was like, 'You’re too smart, you’ll hurt your head if you play rugby,'" Krogh said. "So I took up football."

It turned out to be a great decision.

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Ballard offensive lineman Kale Krogh is ready for a big weekend. A lifelong Iowa Hawkeye fan, Krogh verbally committed to play football for the Hawks over the summer and is excited for the big Cy-Hawk rivalry game this Saturday in Ames. But more importantly, Ballard will be hosting Boone for its first true home game in two years Friday at the newly-renovated Rich Strouse Field in Huxley. Derecho storm damage rendered the field unplayable for the 2020 season.

Krogh was one of Iowa's biggest football recruiting stockrisers this past offseason, after an eye-opening junior season on the football field and basketball court. Long a target of FCS and Group of Five programs, Krogh landed his first Power Five offer from Minnesota last April. Iowa then offered in June, and he committed a week later.

Now, the Register's newly minted No. 8 in-state 2022 football prospect is poised for a monster senior year in which he can show off his future Big Ten acumen.

"Kale has been a huge part of what we do on both sides of the ball for the last three years," Ballard co-head coach Kyle Howard said. "Offensively and defensively, he’s an anchor for us."

MORE:Ballard offensive lineman Kale Krogh commits to Iowa football

It didn't take long for Krogh to make an impact when he got to high school. He took his first varsity snaps as a sophomore and quickly showed what a difference-maker he could be in the trenches.

Howard listed three key attributes that make Krogh stand out on the football field.

"One is his stature," Howard said. "He’s a huge kid, has a great frame, is real strong and moves well. Secondly, he works incredibly hard. Then it’s his mentality. He doesn't take a play off, practice or games. He’s not a guy I’d want to line up against play after play."

At 6-6 and 267 pounds Kale Krogh (79) has been overpowering Ballard's opposition in the trenches for three years. Krogh verbally committed to Iowa as an offensive line recruit over the summer and the lifelong Hawkeye fan will be cheering on the 10th-ranked Hawks in this weekend's big Cy-Hawk rivalry game with No. 9 Iowa State.

Krogh's mentality and work ethic make him popular with his teammates, too.

"It’s basically like having another coach," Becker said. "You’ve got someone that pushes you every practice and is a Division I recruit. He shows you all the ropes, all the moves and how to compete."

MORE:Here is the full Iowa high school football schedule for Week 3

Krogh isn't the only Ballard player getting recruited by Division I schools. Quarterback Ashton Hermann is also a quality 6-2 shooting guard with Division II basketball offers and interest from several local Division I programs, including South Dakota. He and current Winona State freshman basketball player Connor Drew led the Bombers to the Class 3A state championship game in boys' basketball last year.

Krogh was a valuable role player alongside Hermann and Drew during Ballard's magical 2020 run on the hardwood. He intends to do everything he can to keep his quarterback clean so Hermann can make it to his senior year on the basketball court in good health.

"I don't want my quarterback hurt," said Krogh, who grew up playing sports with Hermann. "That is my guy. If he goes down, we have problems."

Hermann certainly appreciates that.

"Knowing that he’s on the line makes me feel a lot less stressed," Hermann said.

Krogh's abilities to protect the quarterback and to push through to the second level and open holes in the running game earned him a lot of attention from colleges. Though he grew up a big Iowa fan, Krogh was open-minded during his recruiting process.

"When the recruiting process started, we gave up our Iowa (Hawkeye) license plates to remain neutral on Kale’s behalf," Teri Krogh, Kale's mom, said. "With several Midwest coaches extending invites for the week, Kale made a plan ... and took me along for the ride. We started in Ames, headed to Minnesota, had a long drive to Missouri and then Nebraska. All stops had great results and a ton of football. "

But his heart was always with the Hawkeyes.

"The Hawkeyes were the first ones to notice me my freshman year," Kale Krogh said. "Coach (Jay) Niemann was swinging through asking coaches, 'Do you have anybody who you think could be a college player?' That was my first glimpse of getting recruited."

MORE:Analysis of Ballard's 31-14 loss to Adel-Desoto-Minburn in Class 3A football

Though Iowa was the first team to put Krogh on its radar, the Hawkeyess didn't initially offer him. COVID-19 made recruiting trips difficult after his sophomore year, but last summer, Krogh got to show off his stuff at camp in Iowa City and in June he finally got the offer he was after.

"When I came for my unofficial visit, I had my moment of realization," Krogh said. "This is the place for me ... I'm definitely a Hawkeye. I committed two days later."

Krogh will be rooting extra hard for Iowa in the big Cy-Hawk game with Iowa State this Saturday in Ames. The Cyclones showed interest in Krogh for much of his high school career, just like Iowa did.

They never extended an offer, though.

Iowa pulled the trigger first, and that mattered to Krogh.

"Some of my Iowa State buddies right now might root for State," Krogh said, "but they said they'll root for the Hawks when I'm there since Iowa State never threw an offer to me."

MORE:After Iowa derecho destroyed their field, Ballard football will play first home game in 700 days this fall

But before he starts cheering on his future team Saturday, Krogh has some business to attend to Friday.

Ballard quarterback Ashton Hermann, (left) and offensive tackle Parker Becker have both benefitted greatly from playing alongside Iowa offensive lineman recruit Kale Krogh in 2021. Krogh hopes to lead the Bombers to their first victory of the season Friday when they host Boone in the first game at the newly-renovated Rich Strouse Field in Huxley.

Ballard hosts Boone in a game between two teams searching for their first victory. More importantly, it will be Ballard's first true home game in two years after damage from the 2020 derecho storm rendered Rich Strouse Field in Huxley uninhabitable last season. 

"There's definitely more energy going on right now," Krogh said. "We're super excited to get out here."

The damage caused from the derecho forced Ballard to move up renovation plans for Rich Strouse Field. The Bombers get a new turf field, track, press box and video scoreboard.

"We're ecstatic," Krogh said. "It's great to have our fans and our towns back around us. We haven't had a full community at a game for a while now. We'll be playing here for our fans, back on our turf and it's going to be senior night.

"We're excited to get out here and get a win."

Then, it's on to watching his future team in the biggest Cy-Hawk matchup of all-time. 

Both Iowa and Iowa State are ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll. The ESPN College GameDay crew will even be on site for the game.

"It's a big week," Krogh said. "Obviously around here we've got all the hype for State, but go Hawks."