MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — As a second-year player in a deep USF receiving corps, Dontavia Bogan has yet to establish himself as a go-to option in the Bulls offense. Instead, he has become the most prolific kickoff returner in the program's history.
The only thing missing is a touchdown.
"In my mind, every time, I want to score," said Bogan, who twice had one player to beat in USF's win against Connecticut on Nov. 23, only to be tackled each time.
His first return went for 64 yards, setting up USF's first touchdown, and another first-half return went 71 yards. He ranks second in the Big East with an average of 26.1 yards per return, but still takes some friendly grief from his teammates about that elusive end zone.
"I'm really messing with him now, because he's gotten so close the last couple of games," quarterback Matt Grothe said.
Bogan, a 6-foot-1, 183-pound sophomore from Thomasville, Ga., has deflected praise for his long returns to his teammates, saying they've cleared an easy path for him.
"I've had good blocking from my teammates, and the schemes that Coach (Jim) Leavitt has designed have been good," he said. "We've executed and made big plays out of them."
Even without a touchdown, Bogan has set USF single-season records with 652 yards on 25 returns this season coming into Saturday's game at West Virginia. He was fifth on the team in receptions (19) and yards (253), but will step into a larger role next season with the graduation of seniors Taurus Johnson and Marcus Edwards.
"As a receiver, he's fun to throw to," Grothe said. "He makes really nice catches, and probably has the best hands on the team. He's still young, so he's only going to get better."
He already has topped his freshman receiving stats, but said he'll take whatever role the offense calls for.
"I'm happy whenever they call my name," he said.