Army freshman cornerback praised for 'heads-up play'
By SAL INTERDONATO | The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y. | Published: November 16, 2017
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — Javhari Bourdeau admitted there wasn't much thinking involved in his game-changing play against Duke Saturday.
Bourdeau had practiced fielding blocked punts so often in practice during the week that picking up Andy Davidson's deflection became academic. The cornerback's first career touchdown – a 25-yard blocked punt return – extended Army's lead to 14-3 in a 21-16 win over the Blue Devils.
The freshman's assignment was to cover the eligible receiver on the play.
"I just heard it (the block) and I turned around and it happened to bounce into my hands," Bourdeau said. "It was just instinct to get it into the end zone."
Bourdeau gave all the credit to Davidson. Head coach Jeff Monken said Bourdeau received "an opportune bounce." Monken had constantly stressed the chances for a block against Duke and each player being in position to not just recover the ball but score in practice.
"It was a very heads-up play to scoop the ball up and score," Monken said. "Typically when the ball rolls beyond the line of scrimmage, you don't want to touch it because if you touch and don't hang onto it, they (the punting team) can recover the ball and it's first down for them."
It wasn't a surprise to Monken that Bourdeau was alert. He's been ready to contribute since the start of the season. Boudreau, who is 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, leads all Army freshmen defensive players in snaps played. He made his first two career tackles on special teams at Ohio State in his third career game. Bourdeau played 31 snaps at cornerback in a 35-21 win over UTEP on Sept. 30. He has 12 tackles on the season and forced a fumble in a 49-12 victory at Rice on Sept. 7.
"It's definitely been good to contribute wherever I can," said Bourdeau, who is from Miramar, Fla. "Day in and day out in practice, you just put the work in for whenever you can go in and just make a play. It (the touchdown) was dope."