Bennie Logan Sustains an LSU Legacy
A quiet yet destructive force wears No. 18 this season, and junior defensive tackle Bennie Logan is one of the best and most unique to wear what some might call the holy grail of numbers at LSU.
However, Logan never dreamed of one day running onto the field wearing the No. 18.
"Never in this world did it register to me that I would be nominated to wear that number," Logan said. "I know the great history and honor behind it. There was no doubt in my mind that I would gladly wear that number and represent it with great pride and dignity."
The No. 18 has become an unconventional tradition at LSU. It started during the 2003 national championship season when quarterback Matt Mauck wore No. 18. When Mauck decided to take his talents to the NFL, the number was passed to fullback Jacob Hester. From there the number traveled to tight end Richard Dickson, running back Richard Murphy, and then last year, to safety Brandon Taylor.
In what has become quite the unique tradition, coaches, equipment staff and players pick a teammate to wear No. 18 based on who they believe will be a great leader and embody exceptional work ethic both on and off the field.
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There was no question that Logan was the man to honor this legacy.
"On and off the field, Bennie is as good as they come," defensive tackle Anthony Johnson said. "He is a great student and on the field he is a great leader. He plays his technique well and teaches younger guys how to get better."
Logan has become the designated leader of the Tigers because of how he carries himself with humility while still managing to be a powerhouse on the field.
On a team with so many dominating personalities, Logan's quiet and modest demeanor can often be overshadowed, but what he brings to the field every day is something no one can overpower.
"He is a very talented young man who has played very outstanding football for us," defensive coordinator John Chavis said. "It is important to have a guy that provides that kind of leadership. That leadership is not just during the game. It's every day."
Growing up in Coushatta, La., Logan was a small town boy looking to shine playing football.
"Coushatta is a very small town with a lot of talent but a lot of people didn't get the right recognition," Logan said. "People were never really given a chance."
In his senior year of high school Logan was playing for Class 2A Red River High School and even received the honor of being named First-Team All-State. However, Logan was overshadowed when it came to being recruited, and he knew that if he wanted to play college football he was going to have to work for it.
Logan began going the extra mile in the summer prior to his senior season by working on his strength, motor skills and overall performance. Offers started rolling in from small in-state schools and finally midway through his senior year Division I offers began to appear.
When the offer finally came to play for his home state Tigers, Logan knew that LSU is where he would be the happiest.
"When I came to LSU I felt right at home," Logan said. "Playing for your home state is a great honor and when Les Miles said he wanted me on this squad that was a great achievement to me. It showed others that hard work never goes unnoticed as long as you stay dedicated and continue to work, then anything is possible."
Three years later, Logan has made a distinct name for himself on one of America's most glorified teams.
Following a redshirt freshman year, Logan made his first career start in 2011 against Oregon with four tackles and a near interception. From there he earned Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week against Mississippi State. Logan then rose to the challenge during the "Game of the Century" at Alabama and was responsible for one of the Tide's missed field goals, and when LSU and Alabama met for the second time in the New Orleans Superdome, Logan tied a career high with six tackles.
Prior to the 2012 season, Logan earned the Toby Caston Award for outstanding leadership on defense, and in just 23 career games, he has delivered 79 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
Even with great success, Logan remains a regular, humble guy off the field and he is quickly reminded to never forget where he came from.
"Sometimes you feel great because you made a few plays or your name is in the newspaper, but you always have to stay humble because in any given day it could all be gone," Logan said. "It's great to have that support from back home. They support me whether we win or lose."
Logan made LSU his home away from home and playing for his state's flagship school was an honor he quickly grew to love and appreciate.
"Playing for your home state is a great honor and to be able to have your friends and family come watch you play a game is a great thing," Logan said. "It gives kids back home hope that it can be done if you work hard, stay focused and take care of business on and off the field."
With all eyes set on another championship season, some fans may have been distracted by the unusual size of the traditional No. 18.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Logan is the first defensive lineman and quite possibly the largest player to have ever worn the No. 18 at LSU.
"If you look at the guys before me who wore No. 18 they were way smaller than me," Logan said. "So I've definitely been looked at a lot because it's a really small number, on a really big guy. I think the No. 18 fits me quite well though; I mean they literally had to make a bigger jersey to fit me."
Logan has tried to pattern his leadership after the greats before him, but only one No. 18 fits a player right now.
Through humility, great leadership and an overall sense of responsibility, the No. 18 fits the fiercely quiet big man quite nicely.