If you look hard enough, you can just about see Rock Bridge High School from the University of Missouri campus. Look a little harder and you might be able to spot Mizzou commit A.J. Logan dominating another Rock Bridge football practice.
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"He's right up there with the best guys we've ever produced," Bruins' head coach A.J. Ofodile said.
Ofodile knows D1 talent when he sees it. In his ten years at the helm at Rock Bridge, his program has produced nearly a dozen BCS level players.
"In terms of being impressive, it's doing it every day in practice that translates to the [college] level," Ofodile said. "This year, A.J. just absolutely shuts practices down. We'll be trying to coach our offense and it just gets to the point where we have to say, 'A.J., get out of the way,' because he's always in the backfield or knocking balls down we can't get anything done."
At 6-foot-2, 310 pounds Logan is Missouri's biggest recruit to date. But the defensive tackle says it's not his size that has him contending to be an All-State player for a second consecutive year.
"I've gotten a lot stronger and I might have gotten a little bit faster but it's just my overall maturity level," Logan said. "The game has slowed way down and it just seems to come naturally now."
His coach agrees.
"He's obviously got great size but his intelligence and overall understanding of the game has come along," Ofodile said. He understands schemes, he understands the technique. Obviously, there needs to be another step in that at the college level but he's right there."
"Right there," is also a good way to describe how far Logan will be from home when he enrolls at Mizzou. The hometown talent grew up rooting for the Tigers and committed on the spot upon receiving a Tiger offer.
"To me, there are a couple kinds of recruits," Ofodile said. "You get the flavor of the month type where they like the school on a hot streak. Or you have the type of kid that says 'this is my dream school, this is home for me, this is where I always want to be.' Those kids revel in the wins and hurt on the losses. It's not they lost, it's we lost. And A.J. falls into that category."
True to that sentiment, Logan has completely shut down his recruitment since committing.
"I'm 100 percent done," he said. "There's literally nothing that could take me away from Mizzou."
In the meantime, Logan stays in touch with Tiger coaches and continues to be impressed with the play of the Missouri defense.
"I talk to Coach Kul (Kuligowski) and he's just talking about Sheldon (Richardson) and talking about how he's having monstrous games," Logan said. "I told him I want some of that rub off on me and that I'm putting up similar numbers for my team."
So are the Tigers getting another Sheldon Richardson in A.J. Logan? It's a lot to ask, but Ofodile says there are similarities.
"There might only be one guy like Sheldon in the entire country. But as far as the effort part and making plays and disrupting the offense, [A.J.] is definitely a force like that on our level."
While Logan's recruitment never received the fanfare of Richardson's, he was still highly coveted by the Missouri staff.
"Mizzou has such a good record of evaluating talent that if they don't offer a kid early on, other schools look at that and think, 'oh he's not that good,' but Mizzou has been in on [Logan] forever," Ofodile said.
"A lot of schools throw an offer out without doing their homework, but Missouri really went through the process and it will work out well for everybody."
And for Logan, it will be a dream come true.
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