2013 Defensive Player of the Year: Will HoganPublished 11:35am Monday, January 13, 2014
Although quiet in demeanor off the gridiron, Holtville junior defensive lineman Will Hogan attacks–loudly–between the sidelines.
Hogan earned 2013 first-team All-State honors in Class 4A with his noisy play, recording 111 total tackles, 42 tackles-for-loss and 14 sacks. Those numbers also gained him the 2013 Herald’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s an aggressive player,” Bulldogs head football coach Hunter Adams said of Hogan. “He’s what you want out of a defensive football player. He plays with a very physical mindset, a nasty mindset.”
The junior’s work ethic and mentality on the field, as well as the weight room led to the improvement of his play.
“With my play last year,” Hogan said, “I thought if I work hard in the weight room, I can do it again this year.”
“I knew coming into the year that he was going to have a really good year,” Adams said. “If you look at his statistics from last year as a sophomore, they’re not a whole lot different. He actually had more sacks as a sophomore, but he had a few more tackles in pursuit this year. He was a little faster, a little bigger, little stronger so he ran sideline-to-sideline a little better.”
Currently, the Bulldog benches 340 pounds, squats 600 and power cleans 300. His strength impresses, but he’s also one of the quickest guys on Holtville’s roster.
“For being a big guy, he’s very explosive and if you watch game tape on him, the first thing that you’ll notice is his first step,” the coach said. “Off the ball, he’s probably–football players should be looked at on their first five yards when they run, not the 40 time. Those first five yards are the most important. At 250-260 pounds, he may have one of the two or three fastest five-yard bursts on our entire team.”
Playing both sides of the ball with his agility and size, on top of his onfield demeanor, makes Hogan a hot commodity for the Bulldogs.
“He blocks as angrily as he plays defense,” Adams said. “He’s a great lead blocker. He has as many pancake blocks as he does big tackles on defense. He’s fun to watch in that role and he takes pride with it.”
Hogan relishes his roles because he wants to elevate the team’s play.
“I felt like I was leader,” he said. “Keeping people motivated, having a good game to try to bring a win back to (Holtville). Lift everybody else around me up. I want to give them my all. They give me their all.”
Holtville earned its first win of the year in the sixth game, a 13-9 win at Dallas County. Hogan impacted the game and affected his opponents’ gameplan. His mentality was simple, but forceful.
“I got to get to the quarterback, just got to make a sack or a tackle for a loss,” he said.
“If you watch him work, you’ll understand why he’s really unblockable one-on-one,” Adams said. “It’s almost impossible to double-team him. If you watch film, teams had to run away from him. Late in the year, we had to start moving our front around pre-snap to prevent that from happening.”
With one more year left at Holtville and opponents fully aware of him, Hogan knows his teammates will count on him. His game can improve and it starts now.
“I have to get in the weight room, work hard and just help my teammates get a win,” he said.
Adams looks forward to 2014 as his All-State player becomes a more prominent leader.
“His play speaks with great example,” the coach said. “As an upcoming senior, a lot more responsibility is going to be placed on him. He’s the guy, he’s our overall–one of if not the most talented players–so people are going to look to him for leadership. I’m anxious to see him perform in that leadership role.”