Former WVU Star Brandon Hogan Set to Begin NFL Career - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Former WVU Star Brandon Hogan Set to Begin NFL Career

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MORGANTOWN -

The last time Brandon Hogan played in a football game, he was still a member of the West Virginia Mountaineers. Hogan suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the Mountaineers final regular season game last year.

Hogan missed the Champs Sports Bowl against NC State and also missed the opportunity to perform at the NFL Scouting Combine. He also was unable to participate in West Virginia's Pro Day.

NFL teams had to evaluate him solely off of his body of work in college football. Hogan finished his college career with seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries in 36 games as a defensive back.

The Carolina Panthers liked enough of what they saw to make him a fourth round draft pick. Hogan was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform or PUP list due to his rehab and recovery.

The goal was for Hogan to return in time to play in the 2011 season and he is on track to do that. Hogan is finally practicing with his new team.

"It felt great to get back out there with the guys and get back into the flow of things," Hogan said. "I've been out of football for a long time now, so it felt good to get back."

It is nearly a calendar year to the day when he last played a game. Perhaps that return to the field would have been a little quicker had the NFL lockout not taken place. The lockout prevented Hogan from visiting the Panthers training facility and as a result, prevented the Panthers staff from aiding him in his recovery.

"It kind of slowed down the process of me getting back in time," Hogan said. "But everything is working out now and I am getting back fine."

Hogan said the process of recovery and rehab took a mental toll on him. The ten month road to a return on the field required patience and focus.

"I have just been working, rehabbing, and doing whatever I had to do while I was on the PUP list," Hogan said. "But, my team and everybody down there has been keeping me up in my spirits to get back."

Now that he is back on the field and able to compete, Hogan said he is looking forward to making his NFL debut whenever that day comes.

"I should get in and get a chance to contribute and do a little something to help out," Hogan stated.

Hogan recently returned to Morgantown. The Carolina Panthers were enjoying  a bye week, so Hogan decided to take in a WVU football game. Hogan stood on the sidelines as West Virginia met Louisville.

"It feels good to be back out here," Hogan said with a smile. "I'm not a player anymore, so it is a little different when I come to the game, just to see this. It is great."

Hogan earned a reputation around the Big East by his senior year as a guy who was able to make plays. Therefore, he found opponents throwing to the other side of the field. That gave Keith Tandy the opportunity to make some big plays. Now Hogan is noticing opponents treating Tandy like they did himself just last year.

"Tandy just moved right in like I was never here and Pat (Miller) is doing a good job of taking his old spot," Hogan said.

Hogan is trying to help Tandy remain mentally sharp. Less opportunities to make plays mean there is more of an importance to be ready when the chance presents itself.

"I talk to (Keith Tandy) all the time and tell him to stay on top of your game," Hogan said.  "So when you least expect it, it will come your way. Be ready."

Hogan has been out of WVU for less than one season and already his former team is preparing for a monumental change. West Virginia University was recently accepted by the Big 12.

"I heard about it," Hogan smiled. "I didn't really know what was going on, I just know everybody was trying to get out of the Big East. Now it is on to the Big 12, so we're getting ready for that."

So keep an eye on Carolina Panthers games throughout the remainder of the season. Hogan succeeded in working himself back onto the practice field. Now it is only a matter of time until he makes his NFL debut.

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