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Starkville's Logan fitting in at Lamar


Buster Wolfe



BEAUMONT, Texas -- Octavius Logan of Lamar University has been on a personal odyssey to play football at a higher level. 


Today, Logan is the leading rusher in a revived Cardinals football program. For his accomplishments, Logan is The Dispatch''s College Player of the Week. 


The journey started for the Starkville native at East Oktibbeha County High School in Crawford. There, he played several positions. 


"I was tailback, receiver and punt and kickoff returner," Logan said. 


In the Lamar University football records, he''s listed as a transfer from East Mississippi Community College. 


"I never played football at East Mississippi," said Logan, who finished his studies at the junior college. "I had surgery on my knee and went home for the last semester." 


He was playing at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, under head coach Ray Woodard. When Woodard moved to Beaumont, Texas, to restart a Lamar University football program that was shut down nine years earlier, Logan was offered a scholarship. 


"I was in the right place at the right time," Logan said. "I already knew Coach Woodard from Navarro, and I knew I would be OK once my knee got well and I got through the books." 


Woodard coached three seasons at Navarro College -- two as defensive coordinator and one as head coach. His 2007 team went to the conference playoffs for the first time in six years after compiling a 9-3 record. 


The 2007 Navarro team was ranked No. 4 nationally and Woodard was named conference coach of the year. 


Of course, Woodard knew what he was getting in Logan''s assets. And he didn''t consider Logan''s size -- 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 170 pounds -- to be a disadvantage. 


"We didn''t recruit him because of his size," Woodard said. "His experience, his explosiveness have been assets for the team." 


Logan, who''s in his junior year for the Cardinals, said he felt comfortable joining the Lamar football team, although the program had been dormant so long. 


"Some of the Navarro players came over to Lamar," he said. "I knew them and I knew Coach Woodard, so I was comfortable when I got here." 


Although Logan leads the team in rushing, the statistics don''t tell the story. In seven games, he has 158 total rushing yards, averaging just 22.6 yards per game. 


Where Logan excels is returning kickoffs. His return yards (530) are more than triple his rushing number. He also averages more yards per game (24.1) in kickoff returns than when he''s in the backfield.  


Logan''s longest kickoff return is 74 yards, but no touchdown. He really wanted to cross that goal line. 


"I was close enough to get it; I could see it right in front of me," he said. "But somebody ran me down from behind." 


So just how fast is Logan? He said he was clocked at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the last time he was measured. 


Woodard said Lamar coaches haven''t really timed Logan. 


"I would say it is about a 4.5," Woodard said. "I know it''s fast enough." 


Woodard said Logan has been valuable returning kicks, but he added the speedster hasn''t been barred from the backfield. 


"He''s been returning kicks for us, but he is in the mix in the backfield," Woodard said. "We definitely want to give him more touches." 


That sounds good to Logan, looking ahead to the final four games of the year and then next season. 


"I really can''t get a rhythm unless I get more chances to carry the ball," Logan said. "As a senior, I''m sure I''ll get a lot more touches." 


Woodard said he also is looking for Logan to show his leadership skills as his junior season continues. The Cardinals are 3-4 going into their final four games. 


"We''re hoping he will step up in our last four games," Woodard said. "Being a young team, we haven''t had players who have stepped up and taken leadership roles. I expect him to become more of a team leader as the season goes on." 


Lamar, which has an open date last weekend, returns to action Saturday at North Dakota. Kickoff in Grand Forks, N.D., is noon.



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