(NOTE: We see DeAndrew Rubin wore #81 his freshman year, but he was better known as #4, and there's a current Bull wearing that number. If you want some D-Rube love, check out our 15 For 15 profile on him from last summer.)
My memory played a trick on me with this number. Dontavia Bogan seemed like such an obvious choice for the best #81 in USF history that I thought S.J. Green had to have a case, and wouldn't we be clever if we looked past the recent candidate. Well, not really. Bogan's overall numbers and his 2010 season easily give him the top spot.
Dontavia arrived in Tampa from Central County High School in Thomasville, Georgia, and forced his way onto the field as a true freshman in 2007, playing in 11 of 13 games. Bogan's production might have been stunted a little bit by the spread offense the Bulls ran during his first three years, and also by the random substitution patterns that often kept players from getting into a rhythm. But he was able to catch 60 passes for 849 yards and six touchdowns from 2007-09, and he also rolled up 1540 kick returns on 65 attempts for a 23.7 yard average.
The switch to Skip Holtz and the injury plague that hit the wide receiver corp in 2010 gave Bogan his chance to make a bigger impact, and he took advantage. He caught 47 passes last season for 685 yards, the second-highest yardage total in a season in school history, and it would have been a lot more except for Pittsburgh committing four intentional pass interference penalties against him in their game on November 20.
Bogan's 11 catches against West Virginia tied the USF record for receptions in a game. He scored six touchdowns on the season, and he made critical catches against Louisville (what Toro dubbed the "Annexation of Puerto Rico"), Miami (a diving catch near the goal line that set up the game-tying touchdown late in regulation), and Connecticut (one for a touchdown, and another to get the Bulls in position to screw up the endgame). With B.J. Daniels limited all season by ineffectiveness and injury, Bogan was the Bulls' most dangerous offensive player.
For his career, Bogan ranks fourth in receptions (107), second in receiving yards (1534), tied for second in receiving touchdowns (12) and fourth in all-purpose yards (3179). Once the NFL lockout ends, we'll see if he gets a shot in a training camp somewhere. Of course, no matter what happens from here, he's the best #81 USF has ever had.