Western Michigan lost seniors Zach Terrell and Corey Davis, but one of the Broncos' key offensive pieces is back for more football.
Jamauri Bogan, the elusive 5-foot-7 running back from New Jersey, is one of the two halfbacks in Western Michigan's dynamic duo. Splitting carries with Jarvion Franklin, Bogan excelled in his two years under P.J. Fleck's system in Kalamazoo.
Bogan and Franklin, both added to the Doak Walker Award watch list, will lead the Western Michigan offense in 2017. Franklin brings the power to the Broncos' backfield while Bogan adds a dimension of speed.
Bogan's 2016 campaign was off to a near-perfect start. In his first four contests, he racked up 527 rushing yards and five touchdowns. In each of the Broncos' four victories, which included two road wins over Big Ten foes, Bogan surpassed the century mark and found the end zone at least once.
But Bogan's dream season was quickly derailed in the rivalry game against Central Michigan. The star halfback injured his ankle on his first carry in the 49-10 victory over the Chippewas. Bogan would shortly return, but saw limited action. After missing three games and playing a smaller role in three others, Bogan returned in full force in late November.
Western Michigan needed to defeat Toledo to earn a trip to Detroit for the MAC Championship, and Bogan led the way in the rain with a career game. Bogan ran for a season-high 198 yards and one touchdown, adding two receptions for 22 yards to a phenomenal stat-line.
During Western Michigan's Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin, Bogan managed to total 58 rushing yards against the Badgers' second-ranked per-game rushing defense. But Bogan saw his best success in the postseason during the 2015 Popeye's Bahamas Bowl, becoming the second MVP of the game in the event's history. A freshman at the time, Bogan rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos disposed of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in Nassau.
Bogan will lose a key blocker in offensive tackle Taylor Moton, but effective and experienced offensive linemen John Keenoy and Chukwuma Okorafor will return to the lineup in Kalamazoo.
Bogan should continue to produce this season, and if healthy, he can achieve his second 1,000-yard season of his collegiate career. But the Broncos open with USC and Michigan State, two programs notorious for relentless defenses. Bogan, along with Franklin, will try to pierce through these opposing defenses to break away for long runs. If Bogan continues to perform at a high level against Power Five opponents, Western Michigan's offense could be in perfect position to pull off an upset.
The redshirt junior has shown so much promise in his first two seasons, but Bogan still holds the opportunity to enshrine himself among the greats in Western Michigan history. At his current production rate, Bogan would finish his career as the program's second-leading rusher in history. There are plenty of question marks heading into Western Michigan's 2017 after losing several prominent players from its 13-1 season, but Bogan is one player the entire team and fan base can certainly rely on.