Local Kid Looks To Make Good

FAYETTEVILLE -- Pressure to perform at the college level alone is enough to burst pipes. But add in the pressure of being a local kid and water mains aren't safe.

Rarely has a Fayetteville native starred in football at Arkansas. A few -- such as Zak Clark, Eric Bradford, Chris Oliver, Lindy Lindsey and Richey Miller -- made impacts, but the number who didn't far outweigh the success stories.

The talent pool has been there, as evident in the number of former Bulldogs who have seen action for the Razorbacks. Injuries and other factors have kept most from making a difference.

Sophomore Cedric Logan plans to change that.

The receiver has dedicated himself to improving his chances and reported for preseason practices this week at 196 pounds, which is 25 to 30 pounds more than last fall. It should give him a boost when Arkansas straps on its pads for the first full-contact practice of the preseason this afternoon.

"There's no question that he had to put on some weight," said Hogs receivers coach James Shibest. "He was too small. And I can tell you right now that he's a lot more confident out there, just with the strength and conditioning that he's been through.

"He probably could have played some and caught some balls (last year), but there's no doubt a year off helped him."

And not just with his weight. Logan, who could rely on athletic ability alone to get him through high school, became a student of football.

"When you sit back and watch from a different angle, you gain confidence," Logan said. "You see how every little cut can change the game because you see other people and learn from watching what they do. I've learned from every single one of our receivers.

"The thing I think I took in the most is to be patient. When you come in, everybody tells you that the game is so much faster. You hear that over and over, so then you want to rush things.

"But when you're patient, you let the play develop and see things happening and it's easier to know where to show up."

Now, his chiseled 6-foot frame has been on the receiving end of passes since the spring. Quarterback Robert Johnson believes Logan's presence gives the Razorbacks another target in an already talented receiving corps that includes Chris Baker, Marcus Monk and Cedric Washington.

"A guy like Cedric Logan makes it easy for you," Johnson said. "You just have to throw it out there and let him go and get it and he's going to make some yards after the catch so you look at him on short routes, too.

"You can make a mistake and he'll still go get it."

Logan's speed -- a 4.4 second, 40-yard dash at last testing -- makes him an instant asset. Now that he's increased in size, Arkansas hopes defensive backs will have trouble keeping him grounded.

"Cedric Logan has improved his game in a lot of ways since he got here," said senior safety Vickiel Vaughn. "Strength is always a positive in football and with him getting stronger, he's going to get in position better and give himself an advantage against DBs to increase his chance of making a play."

Last season, Logan played in the opener against New Mexico State, but didn't record a catch. He injured his left ankle while making a leaping grab in coverage near the sideline in practice the following week.

Logan tried to work his way back, but always seemed to suffer a setback whenever he latched onto a few passes in practice.

"It was frustrating ... I was trying to come back too fast," said Logan, who is considered a sophomore after playing in the opener, but will be eligible to apply for a medical hardship to regain another year. "I felt like a lot of people came down on me and I feel like I let a lot of people down.

"That's not the plan I had coming out of high school at all."

Logan was highly rated by all the recruiting services as a Fayetteville senior and racked up 1,571 yards and 13 touchdowns while scoring in virtually every way possible: Rushing, receiving, punt return, kick return and interception return.

Growing up in south Fayetteville, Logan regularly hears from folks in the community about his glory days, which included a 9-2 record in 2003 and the Bulldogs' first conference title since 1985.

"Coming from Fayetteville and staying at Fayetteville year round, the pressure can really build up," Logan said. "People saw what you did in high school, more than any of the other recruits, and they're expecting the exact same thing when you get to the next level.

"That's what I wanted to give them and still plan to give to everybody, including myself."

There also was pressure from teammates, who read about Logan's high school success before he arrived on campus. Logan said he could have avoided it by heading to Auburn, Nebraska, Florida or Oklahoma, but chose to stay home.

Strangely enough, it was for the pressure.

"In my neighborhood, you can go door-to-door and everybody knows everybody," Logan said. "When I'm outside, messing around with my little brother with a football, there's always people walking up and down the street and stopping by and talking and asking about this and that, which is good to see.

"It is one of the main reasons I chose to stay here, just to see the love from the people in the community on a daily basis.

"And I'm not going to let them down."

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