By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) —Bennie Logan has never been outside of Louisiana for any prolonged period of time. He’s still very attached to his hometown of Coushatta, located up in the northwestern part of the state. It’s a tiny town of dirt roads, single wooden homes that stretches four square miles and has roughly 4,000 inhabitants.
In the brief time he’s been an Eagle, the third-round draft choice out of LSU has played before 10-times the amount of people living in Coushatta. He’s grown accustomed to large crowds playing before sellouts at LSU.
The next step for the 6-foot-2, 310-pound defensive lineman is adjusting to life in a big city—and in the NFL.
“It’s been a great experience for me, the pace, being in a new environment and a new city, it’s something I always dreamed about and looked forward to,” Logan said. “I just want to place myself in a position where I get some playing time. In Philly, the whole culture is different.
“Down south, it’s a proper thing to say ‘Yes ma’am’ and open a door for a lady. In the evening in Jersey, I opened a door for a lady and she looked at me kind of weird. I asked her if anyone held doors open for ladies, and she told me no, not up this way. I found out it’s illegal to pump your own gas. That’s unusual to me, because I’m used to pumping my own gas.”
If playing time were based on character and work ethic, Logan would already be penciled in as the Eagles’ starting nose tackle. He was awarded the No. 18 at LSU, a prestigious number for the Tigers, equivalent to wearing a captain’s ‘C’ in ice hockey. LSU coaches select a player that best exemplifies leadership and commitment.
That’s been Logan.
As the hub of a stellar LSU defense, Logan took the brunt of offensive fronts, freeing up defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery. Logan got smacked around every play, but his relentlessness, his willingness to keep fighting is what caught the Eagles attention.
“Wearing the No. 18 let the coaches at this level know that I’m a leader,” Logan said. “When I got here, the coaches here knew the kind of person that I am and the real person I am. The challenge so far at this level has been offensive linemen. My first week was my toughest week, because offensive linemen at this level are smarter, faster, quicker, so I had to learn to reposition myself.
“I had to learn when to play aggressive and off the ball. Once I started watching more film and saw the mistakes I was making, the older guys corrected me during practice and film sessions what I needed to do to be better.”
Logan has played both inside and outside. He hasn’t been locked in any set position. When Chip Kelly drafted him, he told Logan to learn every position on the defensive front. To Logan, it doesn’t matter where he lines up—just so long as he’s able to line up.
“Wherever they want me to play, I’ll play,” Logan said. “It’s not really about the size of a nose tackle, it’s a matter of getting your hands on an offensive lineman. It is a thankless job, because you are getting hit every play. You need an attitude to play nose tackle. My attitude is to defeat the man in front of me. My biggest thing is getting the best of the man on front of me. If you get me one play, I’m going to get you the next play.
“I want to get better every day. I’ve never been satisfied where I am, and that’s always been the why I was.”
That work ethic comes from picking peas and peaches as a child in Coushatta. He likes being outdoors and working.
“I’m happy up here, I wanted new scenery and a new environment,” Logan said. “I’m happy the Eagles drafted me. That I’m in Philadelphia. It’s way far from home, and I want to make a statement for my town, and show the little kids there that there is a way out.”
They’re getting smooth blacktop roads in Coushatta. Logan only hopes his road towards becoming an NFL starter is just as smooth.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.