If it weren’t for his teammates and closest friends, Glen Logan might be playing somewhere else — anywhere, really — than LSU next month.
His mother, Kenosha Sampson, and her culinary skills, and Tigers coach Ed Orgeron get assists, too.
Sampson certainly had the right recipe for keeping her hulking son on the LSU football roster, which could wind up with him starting at left defensive end for the Tigers’ season opener against Miami on Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas.
If he starts that night, Logan will undoubtedly look back to a year ago, when he entertained thoughts of leaving the program after being buried hopelessly on the depth chart for more than a year.
A former Destrehan all-state pick and four-star recruit, Logan had to compete with veteran defensive linemen Lewis Neal, Davon Godchaux, Christian LaCouture, Greg Gilmore, Frank Herron and Tashawn Bower for snaps when he first stepped onto campus in 2016.
Fellow freshmen Rashard Lawrence, Arden Key and Ed Alexander also joined the fray that summer, and Neil Farrell and Justin Thomas followed last season.
Even though Neal, Godchaux and Bower had moved on to the NFL, the chances of getting playing time last year seemed slim for Logan — until Lawrence, LaCouture, Gilmore and Herron, as well as newcomer Breiden Fehoko, offered some career-changing help.
Lawrence, the Tigers’ starting right defensive end, was one of the biggest influences on Logan after they became roommates last summer.
“I stayed on him from day one when we roomed together,” Lawrence said. “I told him, ‘Glen, you can be great. … You don’t want to waste this talent you have. You were highly recruited out of high school, so Coach O saw something in you.’ ”
Whether it was at that exact moment or not, something clicked for Logan.
“I had to mature and that took a lot … a lot of help from people like Rashard and Breiden and even the older guys,” he said. “It took those guys to help me mature.
“I had to focus,” added Logan, who played as a reserve last season and notched 17 tackles and one sack. “When I first got here, I wasn’t focused that much on football. So when it came down to it, I had to focus myself and re-focus.”
Realizing he had to mature even though he was only 19 at the time, Logan said he didn’t have a landing place in mind if he had made up his mind to transfer and simply felt kind of down.
“I was still a kid; I was young, and I needed to mature,” he said. “I had a lot of growing up to do and I just felt down at the moment. It was kind of like a split decision.”
Perhaps the main reason he decided to stick it out and get his career on track going into his redshirt freshman season was his mom.
While Logan was contemplating leaving the program, Sampson was having none of it.
“She obviously didn’t like the idea of me leaving Louisiana, period — and she loves Coach O,” the soft-spoken Logan said with a smile. “Her and Coach O are really close. She cooked for him when he came.”
Apparently, some gumbo and red beans helped turn the trick.
“He didn’t really pressure me that much,” Logan said. “It was just easy-going. I think he kind of knew I was already going to stay.”
Lawrence and his teammates, however, instilled some much-needed confidence in Logan, who said he didn’t feel like he stood out enough when lining up with such a deep and talented group of defenders in front of him.
“It was mostly the other guys,” Logan said. “We talked and kind of saw that there no point in me leaving, and that this would be a better fit for me.”
Logan started turning the corner this past spring when he began shedding unwanted pounds.
Playing mostly at nose tackle because Alexander was dealing with a knee issue, Logan took a positive step forward while continuing to reshape his body.
Then, on the day before preseason practice started, Orgeron said Logan would be the left end for the first snap with Fehoko moving over to nose tackle.
In making the announcement, Orgeron couldn’t help but think about where Logan was just a year ago.
“Thank God for his mother and our relationship; we got him to come back, and I think that’s when he made the decision,” Orgeron said. “He said, ‘I’m at LSU, and I’m going to give everything I can.’
“His body has changed. He’s lost body fat, he’s matured. Things are easier for him now because he’s older, he’s stronger, he’s accepted the role he’s in. I think all that maturity, and getting his body right, allowed him to gain more confidence.”
All-American linebacker Devin White and Lawrence, among others, can certainly see a difference in Logan, who dropped 30 pounds and now carries 289 pounds on his 6-foot-4-inch frame.
“I see a lot of consistency and a lot of maturity,” White said. “I feel like last year Glen wasn't really confident. I’m not going to say he was immature; he just wasn't really confident.”
“For him to finally put it together, it’s just a blessing to see,” Lawrence said. “He’s in the best shape of his life. Those two guys, Glen and Breiden, worked extremely hard to get to this point, and Glen is capturing the moment.
“I challenged him to be great. He’s got a spot and he’s trying to keep it; he’s competing every day out there.”
After dealing with a much faster pace in making the transition to college football, Logan said the game has finally slowed down for him to know all his keys and plays.
“Right now, it’s surreal. … I just have to stay focused the whole time and not let anything go to my head,” he said. “I’m just more confident in what I can do with my abilities.”