Logan Wilson was disappointed, but not surprised to see he wasn’t listed among the linebackers on the preseason All-Mountain West team released in late July.
The University of Wyoming redshirt senior has gotten used to the lack of recognition.
“It sucks, I’m not going to lie,” said Wilson, who graduated from Natrona County High in Casper. “I’m not going to say I don’t see that stuff. But, at the same time, that’s out of my control, so I try not to pay attention to that kind of stuff.
“I just need to control what I can control and do what I need to do to help this team win games. I think I’ve done that pretty steadily over the past four years.”
Few players have accomplished what Wilson has during his UW career and earned so little in the way of accolades.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound linebacker has posted 396 career tackles, which ranks him fifth on the Mountain West’s career list and fourth in UW history. Only Texas State linebacker Bryan London II has more career tackles (435) than Wilson among active Football Bowl Subdivision players.
Wilson’s 10-yard interception return for a touchdown during UW’s 26-21 loss at Utah State moved him into a tie for most defensive touchdowns among active FBS players (four).
He is the only player from a Group of 5 conference among the 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, which recognizes the nation’s best linebacker. Wilson also has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Alabama.
Despite that résumé, Wilson has only been a second team All-MW pick (2017) and an honorable mention all-conference selection (2018).
“Complaining about it isn’t going to do me any good,” Wilson said. “So, I just try to keep my head down and keep moving forward one step at a time.”
That approach has paid dividends for Wilson during his time in Laramie.
He earned all-state honors three times at Natrona, including first team honors as a wide receiver, defensive back and punter both his junior and senior seasons. Wilson was an all-state kicker as a sophomore and junior.
He was one of the most feared playmakers in Class 4A, but his only scholarship offer out of high school was from Football Championship Subdivision member Weber State.
UW coach Craig Bohl came calling not long after Wilson helped the Mustangs cap a 12-0 season by beating Campbell County 30-7 in the 2014 state championship game.
“For me, it was a no-brainer to commit to Wyoming,” Wilson said. “But Coach Bohl told me to take a couple weeks to think it over and talk with my parents.
“If he hadn’t said that, I would have committed right on the spot. This is where I wanted to play for as long as I can remember.”
Wilson spent his early years living in Cody, but moved to Casper as a fourth-grader when his father, Trevor, was hired as associate commissioner of the Wyoming High School Activities Association.
UW redshirt senior tight end Josh Harshman was one of the first friends Wilson made at Oregon Trail Elementary.
“He has always been a great athlete ever since I met him,” said Harshman, who also played at Natrona with Wilson. “He has always been a strong kid, but his ability to put on weight, get stronger and keep his speed has been really impressive.
“That has helped him excel at his position.”
Wilson was recruited to UW as a safety and arrived in Laramie weighing 195 pounds. He was on the light side for that position and knew he was going to have to put on weight if he was going to see the field.
He talked with UW’s nutritionist and strength-and-conditioning staff, and devised a plan to add good weight to his frame.
“You don’t want to just eat junk food, because that’s not going to benefit your body,” Wilson said. “One of our old strength coaches likened our bodies to owning a Lamborghini. He said you’re not just going to put regular gas in it, you’re going to get that premium fuel.
“We have to treat our bodies the same way.”
It didn’t take Wilson long to suspect the Cowboys had a different position in mind for him.
“I played a lot of linebacker on scout team my freshman year, so I had a feeling I wasn’t going to play a lot of safety,” he said.
Wilson officially made the move during his first spring practice at UW. He exited those drills as the backup behind Luis Bach at weakside linebacker. Bach – who is from Rodenburg, Germany – transferred to NCAA Division II Black Hills State in search of a scholarship he didn’t think he would get from the Cowboys.
Suddenly the starter, Wilson had to get even more serious about bulking up.
“One of the biggest things about gaining weight was eating so much, my stomach started stretching out,” he said. “Your body gets used to that, so you can eat more each time. I had to eat snacks before bed and wash them down with protein shakes and things like that.
“It’s a long process. It’s completely foreign to you at first, but you have to eat a ton more calories than you usually would because you’re burning them back off in the weight room.”
Wilson played at 215 pounds as a redshirt freshman, 229 as a sophomore and 250 last fall.
Despite the weight gain, Wilson has only gotten faster than he was when he arrived on campus. He is one of the Cowboys in the “Faster than Gravity” club after being clocked at 22 mph by the GPS units UW uses to measure player performance.
“My parents raised me to believe that you have to be willing to work as hard as you can if you really want something,” Wilson said. “You can’t expect to go out and be successful without putting in the work behind the scenes when no one is watching you.”
Wilson credits his success to playing multiple sports growing up. He started playing traveling soccer as a fifth-grader and continued that through junior high. Wilson played football, basketball, wrestled and ran track at Casper’s CY Junior High. He set soccer and wrestling aside in favor of football, basketball and track once he got to Natrona.
“They all require something different from your body,” Wilson said. “I know the footwork I learned in soccer has helped me as a football player, and I know things I learned as a wrestler have helped me as a football player.
“Playing multiple sports teaches you different things that helps you be successful in other sports.”
Wilson’s success as a homegrown talent has made him a fan favorite. UW redshirt senior linebacker Ben Wisdorf – a Cheyenne East graduate – christened Wilson “The Governor” early in his career. The nickname stuck, and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon even referenced it in a social media post of a photo of him and Wilson.
“I don’t really know how (Wisdorf) came up with it, but it’s funny that a joke between friends still has people talking after all this time,” Wilson said with a laugh. “I’m not really sure what to make of it. I don’t think of myself that way, but I guess if people want to call me that, it’s fine by me.”
Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.