- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Bennie Logan had known for a while that he would have the honor of wearing the prestigious No. 18 jersey this season for LSU.
“They actually told me during the spring. I just didn’t tell anybody,” Logan said. “I wanted it to come out the right way and at the right time.”
That’s vintage Logan.
It’s one of the main reasons he’ll be sporting No. 18 for the No. 1-ranked Tigers this season.
He does things the right way.
“When you’ve got a guy in your room that’s going to provide that kind of leadership, it’s important,” LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis said. “It’s important to help your young guys learn how to practice, and leadership is not just in the games. It’s every day. It’s every minute you’re on the field, and when you’ve got a guy like Bennie Logan in your room, he’s going to set the tempo.”
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound junior sets that same tempo on the field. He was one of the most underrated players in college football last season.
While Michael Brockers received most of the publicity in the interior of that LSU defensive line, Logan racked up more total tackles and more sacks. In fact, his 57 tackles led all LSU defensive linemen, and his three sacks led all LSU defensive tackles.
Soon after Brockers was selected in the first round of the NFL draft last April, Chavis was quick to note that Logan has that same kind of potential.
“He has a chance to be right up there with anybody I’ve coached at tackle,” Chavis said.
Keep in mind that along with Drake Nevis and Brockers at LSU that Chavis also coached the likes of John Henderson, Albert Haynesworth, Darwin Walker, Jesse Mahelona and Dan Williams at Tennessee.
Logan, who barely played as a redshirt freshman, is well aware of how much the stakes have been raised for his junior season.
His way of dealing with those expectations is setting his standards higher than anybody would dream of setting them.
“I’ve got to step up in all areas, and that’s what I plan to do,” Logan said. “That’s what I expect of myself. I’ve got to contribute on the field. I’ve got to be more of a leader. I’ve got to make sure I’m patrolling that defensive line.
“All it does is motivate me to achieve my dream, and that’s bringing this team a national championship.”
Logan has bulked up and gotten a lot stronger since coming to LSU. He’s also quick enough that he could potentially play outside at the next level.
He’s proficient at eating up blocks on the interior, but he’s also plenty active from his tackle position. He had more total tackles a year ago than any of the top returning interior defensive linemen in the SEC, including Alabama’s Jesse Williams, Georgia’s John Jenkins, Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, Mississippi State’s Josh Boyd and Vanderbilt’s Rob Lohr.
Nonetheless, the SEC coaches didn’t vote Logan to the first, second or third team of the 2012 preseason All-SEC team, which makes you wonder who’s doing the voting and if those people doing the voting even bothered to turn on the tape.
“I had a lot of people telling me to keep my head up because of that, but it doesn’t bother me at all,” Logan said. “It’s a great honor to be on any All-SEC team, but I’d rather be a part of a great defensive line.
“My job is to go out every Saturday and dominate the guy in front of me, and at the end of the season, we’ll see where we are. A lot of the preseason rankings are caught up on hype. The way I look at it is that you’ve got to go out there and earn it.
“Nothing is going to be given to you in this league.”
The fact that Logan is wearing No. 18 this season tells you what the coaches, players and everybody in the LSU program think of him. It’s a tradition that goes back to quarterback Matt Mauck, who wore No. 18 and helped lead LSU to the 2003 national championship. The jersey is handed down to a player who best represents what it means to be a Tiger both on and off the field.
Logan inherits it from Brandon Taylor. Jacob Hester, Richard Murphy and Richard Dickson have also donned the No. 18 jersey.
“A lot of great guys have worn this jersey before me,” Logan said. “I’m not going to go out and try to do anything different. I’m just going to be myself and do the things I’ve always been doing.”