May 17, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Logan Walls can appreciate the importance of family on the football field better than most.
The figurative label all coaches like to affix to their teams, was very literal for the Dawsonville, Ga., native (Class of 2011), who got the unique opportunity to practice with older brothers Lance (two years older), a long-snapper, and Levi (four years older), a B-Back, who transferred from BYU following the 2006 season, during his freshman season, which he redshirted, and sophomore season.
While he didn’t play much, those two years with his brothers were important off the field in laying the groundwork for future success on it.
“The ins and outs of whenever you’re signing up for classes and all of that stuff,” he recalled. “They’d taken classes with the different professors, especially Lance, who was a business major, like myself. He was able to point me in the right direction when it came to choosing classes and all of that. It’s not an experience a whole lot of people get to have. So I really was very fortunate to be able to do what I did there.”
With his brothers easing his transition in the classroom, Logan was able to concentrate better on the field. That was a good thing in trying to learn to stop Chan Gailey’s Spread — a nightmare even for NFL defenses — which he saw in ’07, then Paul Johnson’s Spread Option, which he went up against his final four seasons, the last three as a starter.
Things came together nicely, as Walls, who like Lance and Levi, overcame a hereditary heart ailment, quietly excelled in a position known for its anonymity. A three-year starter at defensive tackle, he’d be named to three consecutive ACC All-Academic Teams (2009, ’10, `11), as the Jackets went a combined 25-15 in those three seasons (Tech was 41-26 over his career, 34-19 under Johnson).
The memories still come cascading back.
“Beating UGA (in ’08) and beating Clemson in the ACC Championship (in ’09) were probably my two biggest moments,” Walls recalled. “But I remember beating Virginia Tech at home, getting the field rushed (also in `09). I also remember my senior year, Clemson came in. They were ranked pretty high (No. 5). They were 8-0 and they came into Tech and we beat them. That was pretty awesome.
“We beat FSU at home (in ’08), at the last second, they were driving down and they fumbled it on about the one-yard line, fumbled it into the end zone and [cornerback] Rashaad [Reid] ended up getting it,” he continued. “Then, the next year we went to Florida State and actually won at Florida State. It was the game where they had the big storm delay. That was the shootout. [OLB] Osahon [Tongo] made a play — I think it was a strip sack — we actually only had 10 guys on the field on defense. That was some pretty awesome stuff.”
Following his eventful college career, in which he made 88 tackles (26 solo), with 5.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defended in 32 games, Walls pursued the NFL dream. He received an invite to Buffalo Bills rookie mini-camp, from Gailey, Buffalo’s head coach.
“I was up there for a couple of days. It didn’t end up panning out but it was an awesome experience,” he said.
Walls returned home to Dawsonville and worked out at Dawson Christian Academy.
“I was just trying to stay in shape in case I got the call to play for anyone,” he said. “I never got the call so I ended up getting married that October to my wife, Kaitlin (see Matt Winklejohn’s story about his engagement at www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/122711aai.html). I couldn’t chase the football dream anymore so I had to get a real job.”
He would get hired at Dawson Christian as the defensive coordinator, where he’d spend the 2012 season.
Last year, Logan would be the beneficiary of a recruiting visit to Fort Walton High School, in Fort Walton, Fla., by Georgia Tech Assistant Coach Andy McCollum. A long-time friend of Vikings’ Head Coach Mike Owens and Defensive Coordinator Dave Garner, McCollum recommended Walls when discussions turned to the school’s need for a defensive line coach. Everybody won, as Tech got its man, DB John Marvin, while Fort Walton got its new coach, Walls.
By August Logan and Kaitlin were headed to the Florida Panhandle.
Things are working out just fine, as Logan teaches weight lifting in addition to coaching the D-Line, while Kaitlin is teaching web design at C.W. Ruckel Middle School in nearby Niceville, Fla.
Meanwhile his brothers still reside in Atlanta. Lance is Southeast Regional Sales Rep for Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics in Atlanta, while Levi is a private wealth manager for Morgan Stanley and lives in Buckhead.
Walls continues to keep in touch with his former teammates, sending congratulatory texts to Jeremiah Attaochu, after his being drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and Jemea Thomas a sixth-round pick of New England.
“I was super-excited to see Jeremiah and Jemea get drafted,” he said. “That was really awesome. It was awesome to see those guys make it to the next level.”
He’s also made sure to keep a finger on the pulse of the Yellow Jackets program, keeping in constant contact with former roommate and third-year Graduate Assistant Coach Ben Anderson.
Walls is fired up about 2014.
“I’m excited about the team this year,” he said. “Whenever they’re on TV down here I’m watching, whenever they play I’m either watching them on TV or I’ve got them up on my phone. So I definitely keep up with everything that’s going on with them.”
He expects to remain in contact with Georgia Tech as he establishes what he hopes will be a pipeline of talent from the Panhandle to the Flats.
“I’m trying to, ” he said, with a laugh. “That’s the plan.”
Get The Good Word in your e-mail box — it’s free! Just register here to get the latest features on Georgia Tech Athletics.