Northern Arizona running back Joe Logan has a pretty simple mindset when it comes to football: work hard, play hard.
Logan is a freshman this year, and although he's only contributed in five of his team's eight games so far, he's a serious candidate to win Big Sky Freshman of the Year award. He already has 571 rushing yards and four touchdowns on just 67 carries. That's good for 8.5 yards per attempt.
On his very first collegiate carry, he rushed for 37 yards into the end zone against New Mexico Highlands. That's a pretty good start, but then his second carry? A 72-yard run for yet another touchdown.
Talking about the emotions going through his mind in that first game, Logan said, "There were just so many of them. I was telling myself to stay humble and remind myself of how I got there- which was by working hard."
Of course, the nerves were still at full force the first time Logan's name was called.
"You never know how a play is going to go," he said. "I could've gotten a tackle for a loss, a fumble, anything could've happened. I'll tell you one thing, I was not expecting to take the ball for a score the first time I touched the ball."
In those two touchdowns, Logan announced himself as a core part of the Northern Arizona offense. For him, though, the work had only just begun.
"I felt more relaxed but also felt that I had more to prove because scoring once won't really define you, so I tried to keep pushing forward after that and show who I am and what I can do."
In the beginning of the season, Logan wasn't expecting to get starter minutes.
"In my head, I wasn't the starter – I was last on the depth chart which wasn't okay with me. I was just trying to learn from the older guys, and put in hard work and prove that I was a hard worker and get noticed."
Joe Logan against Montana State. (Northern Arizona Athletics)
Amazingly, that first game was only the beginning of Logan showing what he could do. In the game against Montana State, he was the only Lumberjack to score a touchdown and finished with 147 yards and two scores. While it has been a rollercoaster ride, Logan has managed to remain calm.
"Of course, there's going to be highs and lows but if you focus on the lows it's going to continue to be that way. I try to focus on one thing at a time and that helps me get through it easier."
One of the biggest lows – or maybe just the hardest part of the transition – is something he thinks other incoming student athletes should be aware of.
"For me, it was my schedule and knowing when to do things like my schoolwork, and being able to go to practice so that I don't have anything to worry about while focusing on football. Find a way to keep yourself organized. Try to find someone and compare yourselves to them that's hard working, and try to work harder than them."
Logan's established himself. From here on, his goals are strictly team-oriented.
"I'm trying to make it to playoffs with these guys. My personal achievements don't mean anything if our team doesn't accomplish our goals," he said. "In high school I never won a championship so I want to try and get on the right track to go and win one."
Hopefully after college, we'll all be able to continue cheering Logan on in the NFL. After all, he likes to consider himself a David Johnson type player – someone who wasn't proven, who took full advantage of every opportunity he's been given. Only time will tell.