Prior to every game, Quran Dozier does a little surfing on YouTube.
The West Deptford High School running back isn’t interested in the latest talked-about music video or even his own touchdown runs from a year ago. His focus is on Reggie Bush and finding highlights from his college days at the University of Southern California.
“He broke a lot of people’s ankles,” Dozier said. “That’s what I like to do.”
A junior, Dozier would like to play college football at a high level. He opened eyes last season and has seen his workload increase this fall even with a host of other talented backs in the mix.
On a team that’s undefeated at 7-0, No. 5 in the Courier-Post Mean 15 and ultimately looking to get back to the South Jersey Group 2 final, Dozier will certainly continue to touch the ball.
“We only have one football and a bunch of guys who can run it, but we’ve leaned on him in recent weeks and he’s responded well,” veteran coach Clyde Folsom said. “He’s getting better every week and has a very high ceiling. He’ll continue to improve.
“What he’s able to do, which I think is rare, is that he’s able to make jump cuts and single cuts when moving at full speed. He does a nice job of making defenders miss in the open field.”
At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Dozier rushed for a career-high 164 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in last week’s victory over Woodbury. He leads the Eagles with 839 yards and 13 touchdowns on 64 carries.
West Deptford is averaging better than 400 yards on the ground per game.
“It makes me feel special that the coaches trust me, believe in me to play a big role in how we win games and are successful,” Dozier said. “It makes me real happy getting more carries. It just allows me to get more yards and help my team.
“My running backs coach (John Aupperle) always tells me the touchdown is the last thing. I need to get five yards and then get a first down. The TD is last. So my main focus is to get five yards. Sometimes it works out that I can gain more than five yards. I’m not going to lie, I love to break the long runs. But it’s more important to get those five and then the first down.”
Dozier ran for 641 yards and seven touchdowns last season, collecting three 100-yard games.
“Around midseason last year he really started to come along,” said Folsom, who also assists with the running backs. “He was young, but he did things that are natural, things you can’t teach. He had a lot of raw ability.
“He works hard. He’s focused and goal-oriented; a smart football player. He has great vision and great feet. He’s also a pretty good blocker, which is something he takes a lot of pride in.”
Dozier wasn’t always a running back, although he certainly had the position in him.
“When I was younger, I played quarterback,” he said. “But I couldn’t throw the ball. All I did was run with it anyway.”
Dozier has received college interest from Old Dominion, James Madison and West Virginia. With the way things are going, more will likely be calling.
Until then, his focus is on playing his part picking yards five at a time.
“This year has been real successful so far. We’re winning games and are undefeated,” he said. “Hopefully we can win a championship.”
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org
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