One of USD’s greatest football exports came from 1,800 miles away.
Graduating from Miami Jackson Senior High School in the spring of 2003, Stefan Logan came to Vermillion and produced four of the most productive seasons by a running back the Coyotes have ever seen.
“Being from Miami, it was a big culture shock to me coming here,” Logan said. “When I got here, it was just different for me. But it was great. I had a lot of fun up in South Dakota and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
From 2003-2006, Logan helped the Coyotes achieve a 32-14 record. Among others, Logan holds the school’s records for most career all-purpose yards (7,859), career rushing yards (5,958), career rushing attempts (808), and single-season all-purpose yards (1,707 in 2006). He was named a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given to the most valuable player in NCAA Division II football, after his final season.
Logan attended the NFL draft combine in 2007, but despite the gaudy numbers he put up throughout his career, he went undrafted. He wouldn’t let that put an end to his football career.
“You’ve got guys [at the draft combine] working out, running the 40, doing the bench press. There’s so much going on that it’s easy to get overwhelmed,” Logan said. “But at the same time, you have to remember that something good is going to come out of it. So, I just went out and tried to show the coaches what I could do.”
After failing to make a final National Football League (NFL) roster with the Miami Dolphins in 2007, Logan signed with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the 2008 season. He rushed for 889 yards and added 477 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Logan again attempted to make an NFL roster in 2009, this time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During the fourth and final game in the preseason against the Carolina Panthers, Logan experienced what he calls the greatest moment of his professional career.
“I ran back a punt for a touchdown in the last game of the preseason, and that’s how I made the team,” Logan said. “Right there on the spot, right after the return, coach was there and he said I was done for the night. He said, ‘you can take your pads off, you’re done.’ And that was the greatest moment, that’s the greatest thing you can hear from a coach playing football.”
Logan carved out four seasons in the NFL after that game, serving primarily as a return specialist for the Steelers (2009) and the Detroit Lions (2010-2012), surpassing 5,500 career return yards and one touchdown.
“It’s a dream come true for a lot of people to make it in the league, and I had an opportunity to play,” Logan said. “It’s always something I wanted to do, and I did it and I had fun doing it.”
Following his final NFL season, Logan re-signed with the B.C. Lions in 2013, where he spent two seasons. It was there that Logan was able to return to a role at running back.
“In the CFL, I got the chance to play running back, which is what I played all my years at South Dakota,” Logan said. “So, I got here and I was playing running back and returning kicks. That was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun too.”
Logan moved on to the Montreal Alouettes in 2015 and spent five years with the team. Throughout his career, Logan set club records for every team he played on except the B.C. Lions. He said that going undrafted in 2007 never hindered him or his success in football.
“You know, I wanted to get drafted,” Logan said. “But I made it on to a team and now 13 years later I’m still playing football. It’s a long process.”
Despite playing 13 professional seasons, including four in the NFL, Logan said some of his fondest memories are still being on campus for Dakota Days. He said playing in the D-Days games
“At that time, we had a pretty good football team so just being out there, I mean, it was fun,” Logan said. “I got the chance to play in four years of D-Days games. It was awesome, man. My first year I went out there and I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone had been talking about it and the atmosphere was electric, and it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Logan said if he could go back, he wouldn’t change his decision to attend USD.
“It was obviously a different process for me coming from a smaller school, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” Logan said. “I had great teammates, great coaches, great friends. The other day I talked to some of the guys that played with me at USD, and people still write me on Instagram and Facebook and congratulate me on my success in football.”
Logan recently signed with the Ottawa Redblacks and will play out his final professional season with the team this year.
“This is my last year, I’m going to retire after this year,” Logan said. “But I’m using this as an opportunity to help coach these young guys to be pros and how to carry themselves, show them the right way and the wrong way.”
Now a battle-tested football veteran, Logan shared some parting words that he likes to share with his younger teammates.
“I always tell these young guys all the time: ‘This game is a lot of fun and it can open a lot of doors for you, but it can be taken away from you if you don’t do it the right way. So play hard, give it your all when you’re out there on the field.’”