Hogue ready to start working

One of the most promising players in Syracuse's 2007 recruiting class is Yonkers (N.Y.) running back Doug Hogue, whose commitment to the Orange last fall was considered a major pickup. Syracusefan.com recently caught up with Hogue's high school coach for an update, and he was armed with some pretty impressive comparisons being made about Hogue.

"At Penn State, they were comparing him to [Kansas City Chiefs star] Larry Johnson," Roosevelt High coach Tom Drago said. Some people have also made the comparison to a young Eric Dickerson."

Hogue was named first-team all-state as a linebacker this season despite missing much of the year with a broken toe and separated shoulder. The muscular 6-foot-4 standout rushed for almost 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior, drawing interest from a bevy of top programs. He chose the Cuse over Maryland and Penn State, among several others.

A primary reason Hogue opted for Syracuse is because he was told he'd be given a long look at running back, his position of preference, whereas some of the other suitors wanted him to play linebacker. But some analysts, such as Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels, see Hogue winding up on the defensive side of the ball.

"He's very good on defense and a lot of people don't talk about that," Lichtenfels said. "He's got very good lateral speed and read-and-react skills. A very tough kid at linebacker, so I think that's where he'll end up playing."

Michigan and Ohio State wanted Hogue as a linebacker as well. So it's safe to say the Orange staff convinced him of his prospects at running back.

"He really wants to play tailback," Drago said.

Hogue, who lives with Drago, has overcome a lot of obstacles in getting to where he is. The area he comes from is rough, as evidenced by the killing of one of his friends and the shooting of a teammate who was to be Roosevelt's best lineman but could no longer play. The school has been taken over by the state, and the football program is a patchwork effort.

The playing field is covered with rocks, and the team nearly had to forfeit the remainder of its games because it had so few players by mid-season.

"The thing people don't realize is Dougie played on a bad team. My center is 5-6, 160 pounds. I have a lineman who is 6-6 and 340 pounds, but he doesn't know any of the plays," Drago said.

"If Doug played for a good team or behind a legit line, he'd be a 2,000-yard rusher, no problem."
Instead, Hogue had to contend with defenses stacking the box with nine defenders because they knew Yonkers had little else to threaten with. In addition to very good pseed for his size and strength, Drago said, Hogue has excellent hands and field vision, and can block well.

As for right now, Hogue is playing basketball and preparing to begin his college football career.

"He's up to 215 [pounds] now," Drago said. "He's ready. He's looking forward to going up there and to start working.

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