Dontavia Bogan’s rookie season in the NFL didn’t go quite as planned.
After starring at USF for four years and finishing with the second-most receiving yards and touchdowns in school history, Bogan wasn’t selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. However, the 23-year-old was signed by the San Francisco 49ers and made the team’s roster. Then, less than a week into his NFL career, his season came to an end.
“On the third day of training camp, I tore my ACL,” Bogan said. “Unfortunately, I had to miss the entire 2011 season, so my rookie year was basically just about rehabbing my knee. They placed me on injured reserve, and they had me out in Arizona doing rehab with a knee specialist. I went to four or five games this year, but other than that, I was just rehabbing and making sure I’m ready for this upcoming season. That was the story of my rookie season.”
After working his entire life to play in the NFL, he had to put his dream on hold for another year. Now, Bogan’s knee is completely healthy, and he’s excited to get back onto the field next season.
“I’m starving right now, and I’m not talking about food,” Bogan said with a laugh. “I’ve been out for an entire year. I’ve been away from the game that I love. I can’t wait to get back.”
Because of his injury, Bogan’s contract with the 49ers won’t be guaranteed entering the season. He’ll have to earn his way onto the roster again with an impressive outing in training camp. Charlie Bernstein, NFL analyst for Fox Sports, believes that Bogan has what it takes to make the team.
“He’s a smaller guy with average speed, so he projects to be a possession receiver at the next level,” Bernstein said. “But if he can stay healthy, he’ll have as good a chance as anyone to make the 49ers.”
Even though he was sidelined for his entire rookie season, Bogan still enjoyed the experience.
“I still learned a lot,” Bogan said. “I was sitting there watching every game from the sideline and learning so much about this league. I understand how NFL cornerbacks play, how tight the route running needs to be and a bunch of things like that. I studied it all and noticed a lot of new things. The experience was great. You first get there as a rookie and see all of these big-name players that you’ve been watching on TV. You see someone like Vernon Davis and it’s like, ‘Dang, I’m in the same locker room as this guy?’”
Bogan played 49 games for the Bulls and has fond memories of his time at USF. He believes that the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for his development, and he still follows the team closely.
“I feel like they put me in a great situation,” Bogan said. “There were a number of great wide receiver coaches there that really helped me. I learned a lot from Coach [Mike] Canales, and then they brought in Coach [Phil] McGeoghan. He played in the NFL, so he knows what it takes to get there and he helped put me in position to make the league. He taught me a lot and helped me improve my route running. USF prepared me pretty well for the next level. I still spend a lot of time in Tampa. I’m alumni now, and I watch every single game.”
Bogan had a stellar career at USF and will try to duplicate that success in San Francisco this season. His rookie season was a disappointment, but Bogan’s best football is likely still ahead of him.