AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn is in Russ Logan’s DNA. His father Tony and brother Cal both went to Auburn. His childhood included watching Auburn athletic events and rolling Toomer’s Corner. He’s always bled orange and blue.
So when it came time for Logan to choose where he would further his education after graduating from Demopolis High School, there was never any doubt where that would be.
“I had toured a few SEC schools, but I always knew I wanted to come to Auburn,” said Logan, a building sciences major. “Auburn has the academic challenges I was looking for.”
Logan wanted to come to Auburn regardless of football. But as a student in the fall of 2018, he decided to try to walk on to the team. He contacted the people who oversaw walk-ons, completed the necessary paperwork, and attended the tryouts.
“A week or two later, they called and told me I made the team,” Logan said. “My dad was fired up. It was surreal at first and then my family and friends realized how big of a deal it was.”
A year after Logan joined the team, he was on the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium celebrating with his teammates and fans following a victory over in-state rival Alabama. It remains his most memorable moment with the Tigers.
“After the game, it was a beautiful moment — all the fans rushing the field and celebrating with my teammates. It’s always a big win for us to beat Alabama, but that moment for me was something unique,” Logan said.
It was only a few months after that game when COVID-19 halted sports, not only at the collegiate level but across the globe. During the pandemic, there were times when Logan doubted if there would even be a 2020 season, but he was able to grow as a person during his time at time.
“COVID has had a mental impact on everybody in its own way, but for me it was a moment to take time to be around people you love,” Logan said. “In football, we had to make a sacrifice to cut out certain parts of our campus and social life if we wanted to have a season. We had to be careful to protect each other as a team to ensure we could play.
“I think a lot of people came out better because it gave us time to reflect on who we were spiritually and emotionally. I grew spiritually and grew closer to my family when we had a lot of time to sit at home in those first few months of lockdown.”
Fast forward another year, and Logan is now already three games into his senior season.
“It feels like these past four years have flown by,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. It’s crazy that it’ll be over soon, but I’m just going to make the most of it and attack each day to see what happens.”
There was one big difference when Auburn opened the year with a 60-10 win over Akron. The fans were back at Jordan-Hare Stadium, a piece that was sorely missed a year ago.
“To not have full capacity at the stadium last year meant we had to adjust our mental approach each week to play our best, because we thrive off the energy of the fans,” Logan said. “So to have fans back, it gave us a big boost.”
For Logan, the goal is to make the travel roster for the road games and then to have an impact on the team, whether it be in practice or in a game, throughout the season. Once football is over, he intends to stay in Alabama and pursue a career in construction. He is scheduled to graduate from the building sciences program in the spring.
“My next step after Auburn will be to get a job in construction, either as a project manager or a field superintendent – close to the Gulf Coast would be nice,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to start my own business, so maybe one day it will lead to that.”
With only a few months left in his playing career, Logan still remembers how his football career began – playing cornerback in a pee wee football league for the Buccaneers. Once he got to high school, he took another step because of his linebackers coach Drew Luker.
“Coming out of middle school, he helped me hone in on the key fundamentals of the game, taught me how to read the line, and develop my overall game,” Logan said. “When I was a freshman, there were two senior linebackers in front of me. I started ahead of those guys. Coach Luker saw something in me that I didn’t see, and it gave me a huge confidence boost.
“My advice to younger players now is to take it one day at a time. Every day the goal is to go 1-0 and win the day. I’d also say don’t take anything for granted and attack each day.”