West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan had perhaps the best game of his collegiate career last weekend as his Mountaineers beat the favored Pitt Panthers and in doing so put themselves in position to win the Big East.
Hogan, matched up most of the day against Pittsburgh's 6-5, 230 pound Jonathan Baldwin, finished the game with six tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Hogan's interception came on Pittsburgh's first drive of the game and helped set the tone for this contest. Hogan, reading Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri's eyes, snagged an interception between two Panther receivers and wound his way down the top sideline for 53 yards to the Panther 2-yard line, setting up WVU's first touchdown. They'd never trail in this contest.
More impressive than his instincts, ball skills, agility and speed on the return, however, was the 5-10 190 pound Hogan's coverage of the behemoth Baldwin.
Hogan helped limit Baldwin to five catches for 76 yards. They were a very quiet 76 yards despite the fact that Baldwin was targeted often early. Baldwin was clamped down for most of this game by Hogan, catching his first four passes for a combined 28 yards before Baldwin beat him for a 48 yard reception in the 3rd quarter. At that point WVU was ahead 21-7. Hogan did not allow another reception to the Panthers' star receiver the rest of the game despite the fact that Pitt was throwing the ball in an attempt to get back into the game.
For his efforts Hogan was recognized as the Big East's Defensive Player of the Week.
Hogan, who earned First Team All-Big East accolades as a junior, has played well enough to repeat this season. His on-field exploits, however, have at times been overshadowed by his off-field mistakes.
Hogan was arrested last April for disorderly conduct and public urination. He was again arrested in September - this time for a DUI citation after being stopped for driving the wrong way down a Morgantown street.
As is annually proven, however, NFL teams are willing to invest draft picks in talented prospects who have made off-field mistakes. The Denver Broncos drafted former Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox in the fifth round despite multiple off-field issues that ultimately resulted in his being suspended from the Cowboys. Cox, perhaps not surprisingly (as he was graded a top 50 talent by many clubs), has flashed this season for the Broncos. Cox has started seven of 10 games for the Broncos and has 37 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble on the season. His 10 passes broken up this year rank third among all NFL rookies.