By Matt Bracken
The Baltimore Sun
11:00 AM EDT, June 7, 2012
Tony Logan was one of the few constants for an up-and-down Maryland football program over the past three years. The Piscataway, N.J., native was a dynamic special-teams presence, making the Terps a threat to score on every punt return.
A first-team All-ACC selection in 2010, Logan finished his Maryland career with 805 yards and two touchdowns on 68 punt returns. He also returned 17 kicks for 362 yards and caught 10 passes for 75 yards. Logan left College Park ranked third on Maryland's list of career punt return yards and seventh in punt return average (11.84 yards). His 560 punt return yards as a redshirt junior was the second-highest total in Maryland and ACC history.
Logan, who's back home in New Jersey training for a pro football career, spoke with The Sun this week about his Terps career.
How did you end up at Maryland in the first place?
Actually, I used to go to ... the Maryland football camps in the summer when I was growing up. It was kind of a comfort thing. I had a few offers, but I liked going down there with the coaches they had when I was going there.
What were those first years like for you in terms of trying to make an impact on the field?
Obviously starting off first on special teams, trying to make some plays and trying to make a name for myself with the guys. I was trying to compete and especially [trying to impress] the coaches as well. We had a good team when I first got there. We had a lot of guys that went to the NFL – a lot of great players. I just wanted to get in and learn how to play the game at that level.
Obviously you found your niche as a punt returner. Did you have experience doing that in high school?
I never did it in high school. It was actually something I started in college. I was comfortable catching the football and felt good about that. The main thing Coach [Ralph] Friedgen harped on was having sure hands. I didn’t ever really drop the ball. It was something I got a chance to do in the Humanitarian Bowl my redshirt sophomore year. I started from there.
What did it feel like when you really started to do well returning punts?
It felt good. It’s one of those surreal positions where it’s kind of exhilarating once you go out there. That never goes away. It’s a great opportunity to make a play for my team and just [change the] momentum and help win games.
Did you expect to have that much success, particularly in your redshirt junior year?
I didn’t expect to have that much success. I expected to do well; I expected to score at least once. I just had a couple big games where guys on the special teams unit worked hard to make blocks so I could make something happen. It was a great year, a great opportunity, and I took advantage of that.
Was there any specific return that really stands out?
Probably two. Probably the first long one I had against Clemson my [redshirt sophomore] year. It was probably the loudest I ever heard Byrd Stadium. Then the [84-yard touchdown return against] Duke I had my junior year was pretty amazing. We were down in the game and I kind of gave the team a boost and took it from there.
What did you want to accomplish as a fifth-year senior?
I wanted to play a little bit more receiver to prove I could play. I had already proved that I could return the ball, so I wanted to play a little more receiver and obviously help on kick and punt returns. That’s kind of what I was thinking of doing.
Were you disappointed when that didn’t really happen?
It was a little disappointing just because of the [lack of] team success, not necessarily individually. I knew it was going to be tough from that standpoint. We had a lot of good receivers. From a team perspective, I expected to be a little bit better. But that’s really it.
What was the transition like for you, going from playing for Ralph Friedgen to playing for Randy Edsall?
It was difficult, especially because it was my senior year. You’re so used to things for four years, and you’re getting ready to go into your last year. You think it’s going to be more of the same and you’ll just play football, but the transition was a little tough. It went pretty well for myself – I didn’t really have any problem with it. It was different to go through the changes and just try to win games. There wasn’t much of a difference between Friedgen and Edsall. Both wanted to win – they just had different coaching styles and ways of going about it.
Were you surprised by some of your teammates' negative comments in the media about the transition?
No, I wasn’t surprised … about some of the comments that were made because I understand some people were frustrated, especially the younger kids thinking that things were going to be different. Everyone wants to win, and everybody was frustrated with the losing aspect [of the transition]. Losing made it worse. If things went well, there wouldn’t have been [that many] comments. Coming off a good season, when we didn’t do well, it gave people more to say about what was going on.
Have you graduated? And what did you study?
I graduated last winter. Communications.
Have you basically been working toward making the NFL since then?
Yeah, just training for a while for Pro Day and things like that. I had a tryout with the St. Louis Rams that went pretty well. Right now I’m just [staying prepared to do] tryouts for other teams as well. Hopefully soon a team picks me up in free agency. I’m just working out and doing the same things.
What was draft weekend like for you?
Some teams were calling later in the draft. A couple teams were thinking about picking me up, but I didn’t really know what was going to happen. Every draft experience is pretty different. [For some players], teams call and say they’re going to take you, and then they don’t. Luckily I didn’t have that type of experience. It was a waiting process, trying to see what was going to happen. It was definitely a weird experience. It’s one of those lifetime memories, but I’m glad that aspect is over. I’m just trying to see what’s going to happen in the near future.
How did the tryout with the Rams go? Did you work out as a punt returner and at receiver?
Coach [Jeff] Fisher had us do punt return stuff before practice. During practice I was playing receiver, mostly the Z position and some slot. I really thought it went really well. I didn’t have any drops the whole time, and I made a couple big catches going against Janoris Jenkins, their top pick and one of the top corners in the draft. It was a pretty good experience, going back and forth in the team drills. I really enjoyed myself, seeing that I could compete at a high level. It went really well.
What’s the next step for you in terms of getting a shot at the league?
It’s just waiting to get the call. Teams have 90-man rosters right now. Most teams are trying to finish up OTAs. Some players get released, injuries and things like that. I’m on their short list. Just waiting to get in the game right now.
Have you thought about the CFL or another non-NFL pro league?
Yeah, that’s an option. I’ve had a lot of interest from that. I just wanted to see first what happens with the NFL.
What about life after football? Any idea what you might want to do then?
Something related to broadcasting with my major, communications. [I would also be interested in] public relations, dealing with a major firm in some type of communications aspect. I’m not exactly sure yet, but something related to that.
Looking back, are you happy with your time at Maryland?
It was a blessing. It seemed like it went by so fast. It was a lot of hard work, but I got the most out of the entire situation, getting my degree, [being a College Football News] All-American and All-ACC player, playing with great teammates and [playing for] a great team. Overall it was a great experience. I took a lot out of it, just in life in general. Overall, it was just a blessing to be able to go there and have success, meet some great people and be around the coaches and other players.
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