Winkles: 'I've Given Them My Word'

Thomaston (GA) Upson-Lee standout Logan Winkles was on his way to a stellar junior season when a questionable block brought it to an end.

Thomaston (GA) Upson-Lee standout Logan Winkles was on his way to a stellar junior season when a questionable block brought it to an end.

"I wonder about that block," said Winkles. "We were in our eighth game and it was the third drive in the second quarter. It was either the tight end or the tackle, but he bypassed two other players, our outside linebacker and defensive end, to come at me.

"He rammed his helmet right into my knee, and my season was over. It was bad, but it ended up not being too bad. The doctors said it was a grade 2 MCL tear and a slight sprain of my ACL, but I was back for wrestling."

Winkles still managed to post prolific numbers, and he is one of the top overall athletes in the state of Georgia. He posted a 34-4 record in wrestling despite missing half the season with the injury. He was named First Team All-Region in wrestling and was crowned Area Champion, AAAA West Sectionals Champion, AAAA State Runner-up, National Runner-up, and National All-American.

On the gridiron he started at linebacker and tight end. Despite playing in just eight games, he was the team's leading tackler and led the team in receiving yards at the time of the injury. He totaled 83 tackles, six forced fumbles, five sacks, and an interception in 2008.

He was tabbed All-Middle Georgia Honorable Mention, GACA First Team All-State, and was a First Team All-Region selection on both sides of the ball.

Winkles believes his knee injury may have hurt his recruitment.

"I would say it did some," he stated. "Georgia talked to some of my coaches and someone overheard them talking about how they were worried about my knee. The Georgia coaches loved my aggressiveness, but I'm not worried about it.

"I think Coach McCollum and the other coaches watched me wrestle. They knew I was back to where I needed to be and were not worried at all about the injury."

Linebackers coach Andy McCollum recruits Georgia for NC State, and he began targeting Winkles in the spring.

"The first time I talked with coach McCollum was towards the end of May... during spring practice," said Winkles. "I had already received letters from them, but letters come from everybody. My initial impression of him, even his look and the way he acted, reminded me of coach Hall, my defensive coordinator. Old school, tough, hard-nosed guy.

Linebackers coach Andy McCollum
recruited Winkles for NC State.

"Coach McCollum watched my film and told me that I have a great motor and they love the way I play. He can tell that I'm not afraid to hit anybody. My inexperience at linebacker was the only thing that he was worried about."

McCollum stayed in touch with Winkles and his family, and he asked them to consider camping with the Wolfpack because it could lead to a scholarship offer.

"NC State was always one of my top picks," said Winkles. "I started talking about it with my parents, looking into the academics and everything. We decided that I was going to go up to camp and do my best. I went to that camp looking to make a great impression, and I think I did that."

Winkles spent one day at NC State, working out with the linebackers during drills and one-on-ones. He excelled in the testing portion of camp and more than held his own during one-on-ones.

Before he left he also took a tour of the campus and facilities, but admits that he was surprised he didn't leave town with an offer.

"What stood out the most was the feeling I got from their practice facilities and their stadium," said Winkles. "I also liked the way coach McCollum was getting into the drills. That stood out about NC State... the coaches were really coaching and getting involved. It was different from the other camps I had been to, but I think it gives them a better look at you.

"Coach McCollum said I did great. He said I did a really good job with my coverages and with more coaching I could be flawless. They didn't offer me a scholarship then though, and it kind of weakened my spirits because I thought I had earned one."

The hold up was apparently NC State's scholarship situation. McCollum had already informed Winkles that the Wolfpack were recruiting him to play fullback, but with fewer scholarships for this class it didn't look like they would offer a fullback. However, Winkles was too impressive for the Wolfpack to pass up.

"When coach McCollum came to my school during the spring he told me that they were looking at me as a fullback because the way I block at tight end looks like a fullback," said Winkles. "They were telling me that I was extremely high on their board, but they weren't offering at the time.

"But after I left camp they decided to offer me a scholarship. It was a couple of days because I was having phone trouble and couldn't get in touch with them. When I finally got up with coach McCollum he told me he was offering me a scholarship."

What was Winkles first thought when coach McCollum informed him of the offer?

"My initial thought was this is freaking awesome," Winkles said, laughing. "My day was great from that point on. If it was dark outside it wasn't anymore for me. Coach told me to talk it over with my parents and get back in touch with them.

"My momma and daddy were extremely excited. They knew what I thought of the school and how much I liked it. The only downfall we could think of was the distance, but that's not a big enough reason to turn down that offer. It was an easy decision for me.

After talking with his parents, Winkles called back the NC State coaches to accept the scholarship offer.

"I was pumped up," he said. "After talking with coach McCollum I could tell how excited he was. He told me that he looked forward to watching me develop as a player.

"I then talked with coach O'Brien. He was telling me how excited he was that I decided to play for NC State and how much he liked my performance at camp. Coach O'Brien said I looked extremely good at camp and with great teaching I could be a strong football player who could be a major contributor to their program."

With his recruitment behind him, Winkles can now focus on his senior season.

"I'm actually kind of happy about being committed because I don't have to worry about any of the recruiting crap anymore," he said. "I can just play football. I already have a commitment at the highest level, and it is a perfect fit for me.

"I'm ready to play right now. We have a good senior class coming back, and we're going to rebound and do really well. The plan is for me to still play tight end and linebacker this year."

Although he won't be playing his future college position, Winkles believes that it's not much different from how he already plays the game.

"Playing fullback... I'm just going to treat it like how I do tight end now.," he said. "How I play tight end and linebacker... I see a fullback as a linebacker on the offense. We have a specific person to dial in on and then we blow them up. Maybe I'll get a catch or carry every now and then, but it's mainly blocking... hitting people. Sounds great to me."

"My initial thought was
this is freaking awesome."

Winkles will try to take some visits to NC State this fall for games, and he is firmly committed to the Wolfpack.

"I'm going to try my best to make it to as many games as I can," he said. "It's going to depend on how my games end, but I'm going to try and make some. I'm going to take my official visit after the season, but hopefully I can see some really good games.

"I'm definitely firm on my commitment... I'm committed to NC State. They told me they were set on giving me a scholarship so I don't see any possible reason why I would back out of my commitment. I've given them my word, and I believe with every single bit of my heart that is where I need to be for college."

Checking in at 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Winkles has been timed as low as 4.7 in the 40-yard dash. He was the area weightlifting champion, and benches 330 pounds with a 31-inch vertical and 500-pound squat.

Off the field Winkles carries a 3.5 GPA and projects as a full qualifier.

Pack Pride Scouting Report: "Of all the film we've evaluated this year, Thomaston (GA) standout Logan Winkles has some of the most impressive we've seen.

"Winkles is all over the field, whether it be from his linebacker position or tight end spot on offense. With his long hair, hard-nosed playing style and non-stop motor it's hard not to think of former Boston College standout Jamie Silva.

"The most impressive aspects of Winkles' game are his body control and the feeling he'd run through a brick wall for you if asked. He consistently crushes defenders while on offense and shows absolutely no fear of contact.

"On defense, he moves extremely well for his size and shows good redirection to fight through traffic and then drive through the ball-carrier. You know he's laying the lumber just by the number of fumbles caused in his video.

"For NC State, Winkles would likely project at fullback and with his blocking skills, high-intensity, and all out style, makes for an interesting prospect for the Pack." -- Pack Pride Recruiting Analyst Steve Williams

Jr. Film: #87 TE Logan Winkles - Offense -

Jr. Film: #87 LB Logan Winkles - Defense -

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