30 NJ Players to Watch: Jamauri Bogan
MSG Varsity counts down the top 30 New Jersey athletes to watch, in no particular order, for the upcoming school year. Today, we highlight No. 24, Union football star Jamauri Bogan.
Even now, almost 10 months after the deed, the number still challenges one's sense of belief and reason.
Forty nine rushing attempts in a high school football game, and by a sophomore, no less.
Union running back Jamauri Bogan had already raised eyebrows as a freshman when he carried for more than 1,000 yards and scored 17 touchdowns with the varsity in 2010. And if pressed for nouns with which to describe his surprising early success, words like elusiveness, speed and dexterity would have seemed appropriate.
But on the night of Oct. 14 in Union, Durability would become Bogan's middle name when he amassed those 49 carries for 376 yards and six touchdowns in a 43-20 upset over Elizabeth. An Elizabeth team, by the way, that would avenge that loss the following month in the state playoffs, finish 9-3 and lose by a touchdown to Piscataway in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 final.
To be fair, Bogan was hardly considered fragile before that game against the Minutemen. He ran 35 times for 307 yards a week earlier in a 37-35 loss to Westfield and picked up 216 yards on 28 attempts the previous week in a 38-14 victory against Plainfield.
But 49? A number like that dips into the "C'mon, for real?" category, right alongside things like 50 shots in a basketball game or eight at-bats in a seven-inning baseball game. A high school football game, after all, is only 48 minutes long.
Bogan finished his season with 2,260 yards on 258 attempts and 27 touchdowns to guide the Farmers to a 7-3 record. Another remarkable moment came when he was names N.J. Gatorade Player of the Year for 2011. Bogan enters the 2012 season with almost 3,400 yards and 44 touchdowns, and with two full seasons to play.
He will have to adjust to some new blockers with the graduation of standouts Nazir Barnett, David Burell, Stephon Scullawl and some others from the '11 team.
But Bogan usually doesn't need much more than momentary engagement from his buddies up front to realize positive yardage. And there is almost never a trace of wasted motion in his approach. He explodes through gaps in a whisper and changes direction almost imperceptibly. Get in his way, though, and he's strong enough to knock you down.
Mike Kinney covers football for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS