A little more than 24 hours before the 2011 NFL Draft began, I touched base with former Roosevelt star Doug Hogue to gauge his feelings heading into the weekend. Hogue is currently picked to go somewhere — anywhere — in just about every NFL mock draft as a mid or late-round pick. It’s an experience he called “surreal,” but that doesn’t mean he’s counting zeros in his paycheck just yet.
“Even when I get that phone call, I still probably won’t believe it,” he said. “It won’t hit me until I see my name called and see my highlights on TV. Until it happens, that’s when it will finally seem real. I’ll probably break down and cry.”
I wrote a story about Hogue that ran in today’s Journal News and online at LoHud.com. The Syracuse linebacker is already very appreciative that he’s reached this point. Just two years ago, he was a backup tailback switching over to defense. It’s a journey his father Doug Sr. has compared to Hogue’s final season or two of high school when he developed from relative unknown to a player wooed by the likes of Michigan and Penn St.
As I wrote last week, Hogue met with the Giants, Jets, Bears, Eagles, Lions and Patriots. He worked out at the Giant and Jet facilities, worked for the Bears, Eagles and Pats at Syracuse, and flew to Detroit to meet with Lions brass to sit and discuss football.
My favorite glimpse into Hogue’s last few months was in the lead to my story. He said one NFL team woke him up with an 8 a.m. phone call to ask about his thought process during a specific play against UConn. He said he wasn’t even sure which play they were talking about at first — a sure sign that a draft hopeful must always be ready.
“You have to be mentally focused at all times,” Hogue said. “From now until I get on the team, it would be like a job interview. You have to make sure your body is right, be mentally tough, and make sure you’re ready when they call.”
Hogue said he has seen or heard that he could go as anywhere from a third to seventh-round pick. He’s most likely to be selected on Saturday, when the NFL will draft rounds four through seven.
I’ll obviously keep you updated on his progress. I hope to talk to him when/if he is drafted this weekend.