Bogard Ready to Be a Star at Ohio State
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — De’van Bogard wasn’t looking for anything in particular as he glanced around Ohio Stadium.
He was a bit nervous, but more excited to be standing on the field where he would one day play his college ball. That excitement became intrigue as Bogard spotted a ring of names hanging on the upper bowl of the stadium.
“That’s going to be me up there someday,” Bogard said as he glanced over his shoulder at the names Harley, Horvath, Cassady, Griffin, Janowicz, George and Willis.
“I’ll be up there with those guys.”
“Those guys” are some of the greatest players in Ohio State football history; some of the true heroes of the game, including a two-time Heisman Trophy winner in Archie Griffin and the first real football star ever at Ohio State in Chic Harley.
It would take a truly legendary football career for anyone to join that illustrious group of seven, but Bogard has no intention of backing down from the challenge. He’s setting his sights high as he embarks on career with the Buckeyes this fall.
“That’s me,” he said. “That’s just who I am.”
Bogard is brash and outspoken. It doesn’t take long to realize that. His confidence is worn like a badge of honor, something he picked up as a young defensive back watching older guys like Christian Bryant at Glenville.
“I just like to get under their skin,” Bogard said of opposing players.
“I’m really in control. I know what I’m doing.”
Bogard could be heard barking at opposing players from the South squad during the North-South All-Star Classic at Ohio Stadium this spring. He was already talking before the game even began, and it certainly raised the intensity level between the two teams on game day.
“You always got to keep the game competitive,” said Bogard.
“I’m a hype player, that’s just me. That’s my game.”
Listed at 6-0, 172 pounds, Bogard doesn’t look like a kid who should be doing much talking. That is until they strap the helmets and blow the whistle. That’s when Bogard really comes alive.
So does his game.
Though he will play defensive back at Ohio State, Bogard was primarily a linebacker at Glenville, where he often roamed the middle of the field for coach Ted Ginn Sr.’s defense.
“They say I am small for my position but I tell them I have a lot of heart and passion,” Bogard was quick to point out.
“I make big hits and I make plays for my team. I hit everyone with (the mentality), 'you don't have to be the strongest or the fastest to be the greatest.'”
It sounds cocky, and maybe it is, but Bogard backs it up. Not only did he help the Tarblooders to an 11-0 start this past season, but he showed off his playmaking abilities with an exciting interception during the North-South game.
The play started with a bad omen.
“I missed a tackle and I was so mad so I had to regroup,” he said of his one-handed pick.
“I saw the ball coming my way so I just dove for it. I was hyped when I got that.”
Bogard is always hyped, at least when he’s playing football. He brings a lot of energy to the field, which is something he will have to learn to harness now that he’s at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes plan to play him in the defensive backfield, where he will get a chance to reunite with Bryant, his former high school teammate, while working under assistant head coach Everett Withers.
“I played safety and the ‘Star’ position — it’s like linebacker and safety,” Bogard said of his all-star game experience.
“That’s the position that they wanted me to play, they wanted me to work on my college position. It felt great. I don’t think I did that bad.”
With his blend of speed and physicality, Bogard would seem like a perfect fit for the “Star” position, which is what Bryant played as a youngster for the Buckeyes. Originally recruited as a corner, Bryant moved to “Star” for his sophomore season before switching to deep safety this past season.
There are some who feel Bryant’s best position is still at “Star,” but a lot depends on whether the Buckeyes are going to be in the nickel or base defense more often under new defensive coordinator Luke Fickell.
Either way, Bogard knows he has a lot of work to do if he’s going to get on the field as a young player at Ohio State.
“I’m going to work on my coverage,” he said.
“I need to work on my coverage, and I need to keep getting stronger.”
Bogard got his first taste of college on Monday, as the remaining members of the 2012 recruiting class joined the rest of their teammates in Columbus. They weren’t given the full Mickey Marotti treatment on day one.
It’s only going to get more difficult from here, but Bogard is up for the challenge.
“College is here now, there’s no running away from it, and I’m ready for it now,” he said.
“It’s a great feeling. I’m about to start something that I don’t even know what I’m getting in to. I can handle all the adversity. I know that I’m going to go through some really tough situations in college, especially on the football side, and I think I got to grow up and be a man now.”
That’s just the start of his journey from Cleveland to the ring of honor at Ohio Stadium; at least in Bogard’s mind.
“I just want to compete,” he said.
“All I got to do is compete and just keep it going. Keep grinding. Do what I’ve been doing.”
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