Maryland's Tony Logan trying to follow in friend Kyle Wilson's footsteps
Thursday, September 30, 2010; 1:02 PM
Tony Logan's first college touchdown has been celebrated as a breakthrough for a player slow to find a niche at Maryland. But Saturday's 85-yard punt return against Florida International represents something deeper to the fourth-year junior: a fitting nod to an idol whose footsteps have proven difficult for Logan to mimic.
"It makes it very unique, very special," Logan said.
Logan smiles at the mere mention of Kyle Wilson's name. Separated by 25 months and five miles as teenagers in central New Jersey, Logan, 20, and Wilson, 23, have been inseparable for two decades. Logan calls Wilson an older brother; Wilson lists Logan as a sibling on Facebook.
The T-shirt Logan wore around Maryland's campus Wednesday - gray, thin-striped and V-neck - is identical to the one Wilson wears around his Florham Park, N.J., residence when he is not on the field as a rookie cornerback and punt returner for the New York Jets.
The Wilsons and Logans are not blood related, but it's difficult to tell. Gerry Wilson and Robert Logan met years ago through youth sports, when sons Kyle and Tony still babbled two-syllable words. The bond: shared values about education and a passion for athletics. Wilson is the youngest of three boys, all of whom excelled in school and sports. Without an older sibling, Logan gravitated toward Wilson for a template on success.
Wilson ran track; Logan followed. Wilson played football; Logan followed. Wilson eventually got dreadlocks; Logan followed.
As a child, Logan rarely shopped for clothes but not because he was impoverished. He rummaged through Wilson's closet for jeans and a T-shirt, sometimes grabbing the Nike Air Max sneakers on his way out the door, copying Wilson's casual attire as closely as possible.
"I was little him," Logan said.
Wilson taught Logan self-discipline. At 10 years old, Logan slept over at Wilson's house, only to be summoned awake for pre-dawn workouts in Wilson's sprawling back yard. They took turns planting their feet in the short grass to run precise routes - the other tossing passes - while both remained cognizant of the location of the shed and long green fence because the sun had yet to fully rise.
Wilson taught Logan study habits. After school, Wilson pored over textbooks and finished all assignments before the two headed to the track to work on a speed drill they called "rabbit," during which Wilson gave Logan a 20-foot head start and then tried to tag him.
"He was always this perfect kid, like a Tim Tebow," Logan said. "I felt I had to live up to, not only my standards at home, but also his standards because he was the guy everyone expected me to be. I followed him everywhere. I wanted to do everything he did or do better than him."
'Just make it happen'
Logan remained competitive with his role model. If one scored 42 touchdowns in a youth football season, the other scored 44. They lived in the end zone, family members said. In high school, the 5-foot-10 Wilson played five positions but was lightly recruited and attended Boise State. The 5-10 Logan, who transferred to Wilson's Piscataway High as a sophomore, was a talented option quarterback recruited by several reputable schools.