COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland linebacker Abner Logan could be miffed about any number of things these days.
Back home in Boston, his car has been buried by the massive snowfall for over a month, and he’s not sure when it will emerge. And in what shape.
Worse yet, his mother, Sherry, who works for the "T" public transportation line, has been out of work for nearly a month due to the weather. Meanwhile, his father, Abner Logan Sr., who still coaches some prep basketball back home, has seen the school and basketball schedule thrown asunder with all the cancellations due to the record snow.
But there may not be a happier Terp in spring camp this month, the sophomore Logan back from a year-long suspension/probation, which knocked him out of all but six games before he won an appeal. But more so rocked his world and what he’s all about, he said, what his hard-working family is all about, as he reflected on the year that was with Terrapin Times this week.
The coaches still have the utmost respect for the 6-foot-1, 243-pounder, naming him the No. 1 WILL ‘backer heading into spring camp, and to a man echoing the same refrain, “Great kid. Just slipped up.”
Logan, like many teens (and even adults), had a slip-up off the field last year, which shamed him and his family, he said. But he never flinched, working even harder on scout team, where he toiled for weeks but won two Scout Team Player of the Week honors, and basically could have won every had the coaches not wanted to spread them around some.
Logan also gave back to the community, tripping to Baltimore several times to work in the city at YMCAs with children, working in everything from gymnastics to soccer with city youth, and he was involved in the Best Buddies program back at College Park.
“Right now I feel the journey the last year has been real up and down for me, what happened last year was a really big blow to me and my family and the team,” Logan said. “So me coming back, I have really been focusing on re-creating myself. I don’t want to create a bad stigma in the public about who I am, because that is not who I am. I think I have carried that over here trying to be a leader, and trying to do the right thing all the time.”
Last week, head coach Randy Edsall mentioned Logan as one of the players he was most interested in seeing perform this spring, while Terps linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski, who was elevated to defensive coordinator last month and was Logan’s recruiter to Maryland when the Terps snagged the four-star ‘backer from "Beantown" four years ago, had this to say:
“It’s always nice to have him, have all your players in there, and for the team. And I recruited Abner and I want to see him do well,” Dudzinski said. “Abner [and Jermaine Carter] are doing a great job with the leadership on the inside guys [linebackers].”
In his long absence away from the game field, Logan treated practices like his games.
“That was my game. That was my game. That was actually the closest thing I could get to playing, so I feel like if I could do anything to help the offense get better, it was me going full-speed at practice and doing the best I can at each practice.”
Logan said he missed the camaraderie of trips to the team hotel, breakout meetings, as he had to stay at his dorm room.
Now, he is atop the depth at "WILL," and brings his athleticism and ‘thumper’ ability to the Terps new 4-3 look being employed this month in camp. It’s a move designed to help stop the run more, and better utilize team strengths, like the linebacker corps. Two of the team’s most aggressive tacklers/hitters are ‘backers Logan and Jermaine Carter, who along with Jalen Brooks are the presumptive starters now. Though another heat-seeking missle, Cavon Walker, will have something to say about that as well, nipping on the heels of Brooks.
“I am just really appreciative, and not have them regret it,” Logan said of the coaches' decision. “That’s what you play for, to be the starter, not the backup.”
At his spot, it’s Logan followed by junior Brock Dean. Logan has all the physical tools, one of the stronger Terps on the team, and is now fine-tuning the mental side.
“I think mentally…that used to always be my problem,” Logan said. “In high school I didn’t really understand, I just took the ball and ran [when he played running back], or ran to the ball. Now at college you can’t really do that, I have to understand the game, understand this position, the lexicon. It’s like learning Spanish. It’s hard, I have to study, and that’s my main focus.”
Logan said the new 4-3 scheme will benefit all the Terps ‘backers, allowing them to get more in space and make plays. Last season, once he returned from suspension, he had four tackles in six games as senior L.A. Goree’s backup. He was clearly still shaking the rust
“I think it will really benefit us, allowing us to play more downhill and not have to take on as much blocking from the O-line. I feel if we put more people on the line, it allows us to scrape, go to the ball-carrier, or play downhill. So the way that teams are going to have to beat us is throw the ball,” Logan said.
Logan said he leaned most on his parents, as well as former Terps linebackers Goree and especially Cole Farrand last year during “a tough time, a really tough time when I really felt ostracized and I really wasn’t into partaking in any activities. But when I was able at least to come back to the team, I just really wanted to contribute any way I could.”
Logan is one of the more fun, engaging players on the team, always a smile on his face. It's apparent last year's off-the-field incident shook him up, but he has recovered nicely and is back to being one of the more respected leaders on the team. His father, Abner's role model, was a coaching legend back in Boston (he's semi-retired now, assisting at the Dexter School), and helped start the famous Boston Shootout Tournament decades ago.
“I didn’t want to portray myself like some bad person or some thug or something like that. Your public persona, it means everything to you. I made a mistake and it won’t happen again.”
Terps LB Abner Logan Only Looking Forward
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