Players in the Pros: Krishawn Hogan reflects on championship-game performances
By Pete Scantlebury, NAIA Manager of Athletics Communications
Krishawn Hogan had just led his Marian (Ind.) football team to the 2015 NAIA National Championship on the back of one of the greatest postseason performances in history.
In a 45-14 win on the road against powerhouse Saint Francis (Ind.), Hogan – then a junior – scored six total touchdowns, totaling 204 yards on 23 receptions and rushes. It gave the Knights a shot at redemption, as they lost in the championship the previous year to the team they’d face again in two weeks: Southern Oregon.
A week before that match-up, though, Hogan’s world was turned upside down. His father, Lonnie, suffered a stroke.
“He was young,” Krishawn Hogan, now a practice-squad player for the Indianapolis Colts, said. “I think he was like 40 when it happened. It was a shock when it happened and was really hard practicing that week leading up to the game.”
Hogan had already overcome plenty to get to that point. Lightly recruited out of high school in Indianapolis – he barely played until his senior year – he began his college career at NCAA Division-II Walsh University. He left the school for “a couple reasons” and headed to a community college back in Indianapolis.
At that point, Marian began reaching out; Hogan said he had former high school teammates on Marian, but didn’t know much about the NAIA.
“Another school that kind of showed some interest was the University of Indianapolis, another Division II school,” Hogan said. “I had my mind made up that I was gonna go to U-Indy, because at the time – it’s Division II, I was coming from a Division II school and just thought, at the time, it was going to be better football.”
Hogan, however, decided on Marian because of its proximity to his home and the fact that the Knights’ staff made him feel wanted. He soon found out, as he explained, that the perceived competition difference between NCAA Division II, Division III, and the NAIA “doesn’t matter.”
“It’s about who’s better,” Hogan said.
During his career, Marian was often the better team. Hogan and the Knights actually played the University of Indianapolis two times during his career; Marian won both games.
In December of his junior year, with the transition of his post-high school career settled and a future path laid out, his father’s stroke turned his world on its axis.
But, Hogan explained, he had the support of his coaching staff, his teammates and the Marian community in that difficult time.
“I didn’t share it too much when it happened,” Hogan said. “I was trying to work through it myself and with my family, but my teammates all knew and had my back, knew what I was going through. At the same time, I was trying to be a leader for them. I think they saw me fighting through it and wanted to play for me, just like we had the rest of the season. We knew how much the win would mean to everybody.”
Marian did just that. Hogan was named the game’s most outstanding player, catching 11 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown and rushing for another as the Knights beat Southern Oregon 31-14.
“It meant a lot to have a big game,” Hogan said. “(His dad) wasn’t able to go to the game, but they had a TV in his room while he was recovering, so he got to watch it the best he could.
“Now he’s doing good, he recovered pretty well. He’s watched the game since then and now he’s in a better state. We talk about it a lot.”
That performance was watched by more than just his father. Following his romp through the playoffs that season, Hogan said he noticed an uptick in calls from potential agents and visits from NFL scouts. Hogan said one agent called to tell him to prepare to get more attention from the NFL.
Hogan remembers scoffing at that thought:
“They’re not going come to Marian, and come to see me.”
A week later, scouts from the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts showed up on campus to see Hogan.
“The next spring, during spring ball, scouts started rolling in,” Hogan said. “It was like, ‘Wow.’”
Hogan went on to become the first player from Marian to receive an invite to the NFL Combine; he then became the first player from the school to sign with an NFL team after he inked with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent.
Since early 2017, Hogan has been a practice-squad player for the Indianapolis Colts and saw action in two games last year.
He’s still working to make his NFL career take off, but Hogan said his NAIA and Marian roots have prepared him to handle any adversity he faces.
“It keeps me humble and keeps me focused on the same goal – to be a prominent player in the league,” Hogan said. “It just helps me keep my head down and stay focused.”