Logan Leans on Experience

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — After showing signs of prominence in the backfield as a true freshman, T.J. Logan expects to expand his role in the rushing attack alongside a committee of capable Tar Heel ball carriers in 2014.

Logan overcame a knee injury in his first season at North Carolina and finished his freshman campaign with 456 rushing yards and four touchdowns. His eight appearances last fall left him feeling more comfortable and ready to play without the stress involved in learning the offense.

"At the beginning of training camp, I was a little loose with the playbook," Logan said following practice on Wednesday night. "Now I have more of a grasp on it so I can just go out there and not think too much and just play."

The maturation process with the playbook isn't the only growth that's taken place since the end of the season for Logan. The sophomore has worked to put on more weight to help his durability on the field.

"They want me to get to 200," Logan said. "I'm probably at like 190 or something like that now. 200 is a stretch but I'm going to try to get there. I feel like it's healthy weight. It's just muscle so it feels good."

Logan is currently the frontrunner in the running back group as he's receiving the bulk of the first-string carries during spring ball.

"It feels good but at the same time you can't get lazy," Logan said. "You can't fall back. I've just got to try to make my game better and not just try to stay the same. I feel like if I do that then it's only going to help the other guys. When they do that it's going to make me step up too."

The experience garnered by Logan has helped him gain this opportunity, although head coach Larry Fedora insists that the position is still open.

"It's too early to tell; I don't know," Fedora said. "We're still competing at that spot just like we are at left tackle, quarterback, center, defensive back and defensive tackle. They're all the same right now. He's probably had the most reps of anybody there so he may feel the most comfortable, but he's still a true freshman and he's still learning every day."

This approach isn't an issue for Logan, who experienced the same type of setup a season ago with the Tar Heels.

"Last year it was kind of the same thing with the running back by committee," said Logan. "This year is going to be even better. We've got Elijah (Hood), Romar (Morris), Khris (Francis) and (Charles) Brunson. We've got a lot of guys that are going to come out and play hard for us."

The five rushers for the Tar Heels each bring something to the table and Logan insists that the group as a whole will produce in the ground game.

"I feel like all together we're just a complete group," Logan said. "I feel like me and Romar are like speed guys and we're about the same. Elijah is going to bring the power. Khris is all-around so it's going to be real good."

The Greensboro, N.C. native also made his mark on special teams with a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown in a four-score performance against Old Dominion last season. He also returned a kickoff for touchdown in the Belk Bowl win over Cincinnati.

Logan doesn't know yet if he'll participate in that position this season alongside punt return specialist Ryan Switzer.

"I don't know yet," said Logan. "I know Switzer's in the depth chart for that. T.J. Thorpe's there right now, too, so I don't know how that's going to go. It doesn't matter to me because I know T.J. Thorpe can do it too."

The anticipation for the season ahead shines as Logan plans to work to reach a personal goal that he set for himself upon his arrival in Chapel Hill.

"I definitely want to rush for over 1,000," said Logan with an eager grin. "That's definitely been one of my goals. After last season, I didn't get to do it so that's going to be on my board."

 

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