Every knowledgeable college football fan knows that the SEC is known as a run-first conference.
There have been countless numbers of bruising running backs that have flooded through the nation's top conference over the years. But even more important than having one of those bruising backs is having a guy who can stop those backs from carving up yards on opposing defenses.
That is why LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan is one of the most valuable players on the Tigers' roster heading into the 2011 college football season.
Logan arrived in Baton Rouge in 2009 and was not your typical high-profile recruit that Les Miles is known for bringing to town.
The 6'3", 287-pound Logan was a 3-star prospect and was actually recruited as a weakside defensive end out of high school. According to rivals.com, Logan was the No. 20 ranked prospect in the state of Louisiana in 2009 and wasn't even ranked in the top-30 nationally at his position.
But that would all change once Logan spent his freshman season as a redshirt, learning behind Drake Nevis, who is now with the Indianapolis Colts.
Logan has put on 15-plus pounds of muscle since arriving at LSU and was already one of the strongest players on the team, recording a max bench press of 360 pounds and a max squat of 380 pounds as just a high school senior. The future DT played three games in his freshman season before enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign last year.
Logan started 13 games at defensive tackle for the Tigers in 2011, ranking sixth on the team in total tackles with 57, including 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He formed a dominant one-two punch with Michael Brockers, who was a first-round selection in this past year's NFL draft.
This season, Logan will welcome standout sophomore Anthony Johnson as his defensive tackle mate, joining Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery to form arguably the top defensive line in the nation this upcoming year.
In fact, to get an idea for the amount of hype surrounding Logan and his defensive linemates in 2012, take a look at the SEC talent on this year's Nagurski and Outland lists.
Logan, along with offensive tackles Alex Hurst and Chris Faulk, is listed on the Outland Trophy Watch list, which is given annually to the nation's top interior lineman.
On the other side, Mingo, Montgomery, Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid are slotted down in the Nagurski watch list, which awards the nation's best defensive player.
Logan is already well on his way to being one of the top interior linemen in the country this season as the standout junior earned the Toby Caston Award for outstanding leadership on defense in spring ball. He will enter his second season as a starter and will be looked at as one of the best—perhaps the best—run-stopping defensive tackle in the nation this season.
Pretty impressive for a kid who was ranked as a 3-star prospect coming out of high school, huh?
I think so.