By A.J. Collins
Special to the Rappahannock News
Dean Hogan, to say the least, stays busy in college.
Between waking up early each weekday and traveling on the weekends, his schedule is packed.
“I’ve got class ’til 3 every day, then three hours of football practice, then two hours of study hall,” Hogan said.
That dedication, however, has paid off.
The football coaches of the NAIA Mid-South Conference voted Hogan, a 2009 graduate of Rappahannock County High School, to the All-Conference Team as its sole punter, representing the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
“It’s me against myself out there,” Hogan reasoned.
His success, averaging 38.6 yards per punt in his 11 games this past season, is evident.
Hogan noted that college football is very different from his high school years in Rappahannock County.
“Going from a small school, it was a big change at first,” he said. “I was able to take in everything and succeed in both the classroom and the field.”
Hogan’s weekend trips, unlike the shorter voyages to which he was accustomed here, take him all over the southeastern United States. Although a majority of his away games are in Tennessee and Kentucky, he has made the long trek to Montgomery, Ala., as well.
“Our biggest rival is Georgetown College in Kentucky,” Hogan said. “We’ve played them many times to determine who would win the division championship.”
Although Hogan was the only person his year to attend UVa-Wise, he felt that it was not difficult to make friends.
“At summer camp,” he said, “I had 100 new friends, with 60, 70 freshmen there.”
Hogan noted that two groups really helped his transition well.
“The community is great. We have a lot of support from the local businesses,” he added. “The atmosphere on game day is awesome, and going to class I get a lot of ‘good luck, good game’ comments.”
Hogan also complimented his coaching staff.
“Coaches own you like a second Dad,” he said.
His coaching staff, coupled with the long practice and workout hours, has made Hogan a stronger player. This year, Hogan managed a 62-yard punt, averaging 49 yards per kick through that game, which helped earn him a new nickname.
“They call me ‘Hogeboom,’ ” Hogan chuckled, “because when I punt the ball, they say it makes a small boom.”
The name also references the former National Football League quarterback, Gary Hogeboom, who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins in the 1980s.
When he’s not on the gridiron, Hogan enjoys his free time in the surrounding community.
“I go hiking a lot, especially near the rivers,” he said. “And over fall break, I went hunting.”
Hogan is hopeful for his future at UVa-Wise. His hard work and continued success are needed so that he can lead the Highland
Cavaliers to their first division title since the 2007 season.
“All I can do is pin the opponent as deep as I can,” Hogan noted. “The rest is on my teammates.”