'I hope he makes everybody else clap'

Freshman football players Reggie Williams (left) and Tre'von White (right) watch as Carl Cunningham Jr. does a back flip in the jump castle as they wait for The Citadel's Meet the Bulldogs event to begin Sunday.

In the world of elite speed-clapping, there's Kent French, who claimed a spot in the Guinness Book of World records by clapping 721 times in a minute. Then there's Eli Bishop, who boasts that he can do 975 claps in a minute.

And then there is The Citadel's Jonathan Dorogy, a redshirt freshman running back who claims that he is "the youngest kid ever to reach 12 claps per second."

Dorogy's talent earned him a spot three years ago on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and a measure of infamy among his teammates.

"My freshman year, I had to do it in front of the whole team during camp," Dorogy said Sunday during The Citadel's media day at Johnson Hagood Stadium. "So yeah, it's followed me around for a while now."

Dorogy, who is from Harmony, Pa., and went to Seneca Valley High School, discovered his talent for speed clapping through French, the self-proclaimed "World's Fastest Clapper."

"I always liked to clap a certain way, I don't know why," Dorogy said. "But then I saw Kent French, the world's fastest clapper, on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I started doing that, and I made a video for one of my friend's school projects, and it went from there."

Showing some marketing savvy, the young Dorogy figured that the unofficial title of "World's Second-Fastest Clapper" would garner some attention.

"Jay Leno's producers liked it because they said, 'We couldn't get the best clapper, but we got the second-best clapper,' " Dorogy said.

The Leno show invited Dorogy, then 15, and his mom out to Los Angeles for an appearance on The Tonight's Show "Meal or no Meal" segment, where contestants are voted up or down for a free meal.

"I got a meal," Dorogy reported.

Now that Dorogy's redshirt season is behind him, Citadel coaches are hoping he can run as fast as he claps. The 5-8, 180-pounder is currently running at first-team slotback for the Bulldogs, alongside junior Craig Miller.

"Jonathan is not the biggest guy in the world, but he plays with a chip on his shoulder," said coach Mike Houston. "He's good with the ball in his hands and has good speed, but he's also a tough kid and a great blocker. He's a blue-collar player, which is kind of what we want at that position."

At Seneca Valley High, Dorogy played football and baseball and ran track, and as a senior was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 squad after catching 40 passes for 689 yards, rushing for 399 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns. He placed fifth in the 60-meter dash in the Pennsylvania state meet, was a member of the National Honor Society and is majoring in civil engineering at The Citadel.

In preseason camp, Dorogy and Miller lead a group of slotbacks, all vying for playing time, that includes junior Vinny Miller and freshmen Jauveer Hammond, Matt Thompson and Jalen Lampkin. Redshirt senior Jake Stenson, who caught three touchdown passes a year ago, has been dealing with a neck injury, while senior Dalton Trevino is slated to return from injury around midseason.

"Craig has done a great job so far," Dorogy said of Craig Miller, a 5-8, 185-pounder from Holly Hill. "He's a guy you can trust to make the blocks, and when he gets the ball he's going to secure it and make the play."

Slotbacks coach Lou Conte stresses that the "front side" of play - the side to which a slotback must make his block - is just as important as the "back side," where the slotback gets to carry the ball.

"If you look up and wonder why a certain guy is not on the field, that's why," Houston said. "Their deal is (at slotback), if you don't block, you don't play. If you want to carry the ball in our offense, you've got to block. They've got to know they can trust the other guy."

If all goes to plan this fall, Dorogy will earn applause for more than his ability to ... well, applaud.

"I hope he makes everyone else clap," Houston said.

Houston said redshirt freshman Cam Jackson is likely to switch from quarterback to slotback starting next week. Jackson, 6-2 and 195 pounds, has been vying for the backup QB job with true freshman Dominique Allen.

"He's too explosive to be standing next to us on the sidelines," Houston said of Jackson. The move would mean that Allen, a 6-0, 220-pounder who played last season at Air Force Prep, would likely be the backup to senior QB Aaron Miller.

Freshman long-snapper Lee Riley, son of former Walterboro and Colleton County high school coach Leroy Riley, is the Bulldogs' second-team snapper after making the team as a walk-on . Houston said The Citadel will open next season with a home game against Davidson.

The Wildcats play in the non-scholarship FCS Pioneer League.