Georgia is one of the few in the nation where talented players consistently transfer out of, often leaving the greener pasture of Athens for more playing time elsewhere.
Stuck in the middle of two of the best defensive recruiting classes in Georgia history, Zion Logue fit that description; talented enough to play at most Power Five programs across the country. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive lineman stuck around, though, and learned from the SEC’s best over the last three seasons.
Logue is now using that experience, albeit most of it from the practice field, to lead a young, largely untested defensive line group into battle.
There is no shortage of unsung playmakers for Georgia. Former walk-ons like Stetson Bennett and Dan Jackson, along with former 3-star recruits like Adonai Mitchell and Ladd McConkey, are all a big reason Georgia is the No. 1 team in the country at this point.
And veterans like Logue hope to once again end the season as the top team in the country.
Big Fish in a Bigger Pond
By no means was Logue an under-the-radar recruit. The former 4-star talent was ranked the 25th best defensive end in the country with a laundry list of SEC offers when he signed with Georgia.
Logue still managed to dodge a lot of national recruiting buzz, though, as his 2019 signing class was headlined by the likes of Nolan Smith, Travon Walker, Nakobe Dean, and George Pickens. Already in Athens were then-second year players Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt.
Logue waited his turn, serving as a reserve for arguably the greatest defensive front in college football history. Like any other player at Georgia, though, he still got plenty of reps against future NFL talent as a scout team defensive lineman for three years.
“Shoot, 2019, that was the year that molded me,” Logue said. “Andrew Thomas, Solomon Kindley, Trey Hill, Cade Mays or Ben Cleveland, then you got Isaiah Wilson. So, there’s nothing more than can prepare you more for SEC football.”
All six of the offensive linemen Logue named – along with former guards Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer – went on to become an NFL draft pick.
“I was laughing today because we had Bear (Alexander) and Christen (Miller) going down against the one offense and getting just drilled,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I was telling Bear and Christian, ‘You got you got to do it to get better,’ and Zion was just sitting there, and I said, ‘Ask Zion, he spent three years down there.’”
“He had three years of going against (Salyer) and (Shaffer), just every day. And now, he goes against the scout offensive line, and he’s over there making those guys better.”
Logue’s position – known for anchoring the defensive front and allowing linebackers to make plays – is not one that fills the stat sheet. The Lebanon, Tenn., product has just one tackle and a forced fumble this season, but he also anchors the defensive line in a role of leadership.
Logue assumed the position of vocal leadership in the defensive line room following the departure of all its starters from 2021. The quiet, focused demeanor of Jalen Carter further created the need for Logue to be the position group’s new voice, despite a lack of starting experience.
“Leading by example, I would say,” Logue said. “Whether it’s cheering my guys on, whether it’s leading by example, actually striking guys, actually running to the football, actually knowing my assignments, executing my assignments, that plays a big role if people listen to you.”
Logue’s experience and time watching his predecessors has helped him step into his role with the next generation of Bulldogs. That leadership is especially important with the constant prodding, analysis, and hype surrounding the post-2021 Georgia defense.
Logue speaks about the team’s success the same way that Davis, Wyatt, and other UGA stars did a year ago when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 throughout the regular season.
“Don’t look at it as pressure,” he said. “Look at it as you’re getting prepared for it every week. Our practices are harder than our games and we make it that way because by the time Saturday gets here, you’ve seen every play. You’ve seen everything that they can do, and now you’ve just got to go react and play.”