The New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 in the AFC Championship. In a blowout like the one we watched on Sunday, most fans would expect quarterback Tom Brady to be the game's MVP, but there was a surprising X-factor for the Pats in wide receiver Chris Hogan.
Hogan had nine catches, 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns, breaking a post-season franchise record. Not bad for a guy who only had 680 receiving yards and four touchdowns and during the regular season. But unless you are a Patriots fan, you might not know that Hogan is a freak athlete.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound receiver took an unusual route to the NFL. Instead of playing college football for four years, Hogan went to Penn State and played lacrosse. In his junior year, he led the team with 29 goals and was voted team captain for his senior year. But with one year of college eligibility left, he transferred to Monmouth University where he played football.
Hogan did a little bit of everything for Monmouth. He was a full-time defensive player who also played wide receiver and special teams. In addition, according to Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan, Hogan could have been the team's best punter—ever.
Monmouth FB coach Kevin Callahan on Chris Hogan: "One day after practice, he started punting. He could've been the best punter we ever had."
— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) January 23, 2017
Hogan finished his one season with 28 tackles and three interceptions on the defensive side, plus 12 catches for 147 yards and three TDs as a receiver. He was not invited to the NFL Combine, but he showed out for his Pro Day, where he ran a 40-Yard Dash in 4.40, had a vertical jump of 36-½ inches and bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times. In the video below, Hogan runs a 4.39 40-Yard Dash while training with Joe DeFranco.
After he joined the NFL, Hogan bounced around from team to team. But now it seems that Brady might have a new favorite target. "He's been incredible," Brady told USA Today. "I mean, to lead the league in average yards per catch is spectacular. He's made big plays for us all season. He made big plays in the biggest game of the year for us."
Because Hogan seem always to be open, he received the nickname "7-Eleven" from previous teammates.
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