Lumberjack Logan Rudolph 'excited to be a Tiger' in '17
|Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 10:11 AM- -|
For a guy who made such a big splash on social media this spring with his video commitment announcement – chopping wood in jean shorts to the tune of Kenny Loggins' “Danger Zone” – four-star athlete Logan Rudolph couldn't be more modest and unassuming in conversation.
He laughs off the attention the viral video garnered and instead focuses on the season ahead of him with Rock Hill's Northwestern High School, the defending S.C. Class 4A, Division II champion. Rudolph also expresses a lot of confidence and gratitude in his decision to commit to Clemson.
“I'm just excited to be a Tiger and ready for the future – yes, sir,” he told TigerNet by phone this week.
This month the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Rudolph – a stellar tight end turned defensive stalwart – visited TigerTown to attend Dabo Swinney's high school football camp. He said he relished the time he got to spend with his future coaches and teammates. His viral video, it turned out, was a great ice-breaker.
“Some of the coaches at the camp gave me a hard time about it, but they were just kind of joking about it,” Rudolph said. “But yeah, the overall vibe was congratulatory and positive. I just kind of wanted to tweet it up and kind of do something different, something that kind of matched my personality. So I think I accomplished that – just kind of got it over with, and I'm excited about the future.”
He said he spent time with other members of Clemson's 2017 freshman class, including Amari Rodgers, Matt Bockhorst, Hunter Johnson and Noah DeHond, whom he'd gotten to know online via a group messageboard.
“They're all cool guys,” Rudolph said. “We have a little group message that we communicate and talk in and just kind of keep up with with each other, so it's pretty cool.”
The camp experience was fulfilling and worthwhile, he said.
“It was great. I just went for a day camp – it was two sessions. I really enjoyed it. I got to chance to meet some of the guys who I'll be playing with and had a good time spent with Coach V and worked with him most of the day. I had lunch with Coach (Brent) Venables and Coach (Kyle) Richardson, so it was a great time overall.”
The lunch with Richardson was a reunion, as the new Clemson offensive assistant was Rudolph's head coach at Northwestern.
Though Rudolph was rated by Scout.com as the top tight end in his class in the state of South Carolina, he also did double duty as a defensive end for his Trojans. In his first season on defense, Rudolph amassed 62 tackles (9 for loss), 15 sacks and an interception, accounting for two touchdowns and helping spur the team's 14-1 championship run. As a tight end, he has more than 500 yards and 50 receptions in his career.
This season, Rudolph said he'll be playing defensive end only. (The Tigers foresee him playing outside linebacker.) And he'd like to lead the Trojans to another state title.
“My goals are obviously just to have the best season I can have personally, but I also want to help the team the most I can, and that will be on the defensive side,” he said. “I'll just play defense this year. I want our team to do the best it can, and I want to focus on high school ball this coming season and help out the team as much as possible. And then once the season's over, I'll focus on what's to come. But I'm just really looking forward to this season – we've got a lot of guys coming back and I think we've got another shot to win state.”
What's to come includes an early graduation from Northwestern and a January enrollment at Clemson, where he plans to study business or business marketing. It's a different game plan entirely from what was on his plate less than three months ago, before the Clemson offer. He had his pick of big-time programs and was considering attending Florida State, Alabama or Notre Dame, “and kind of South Carolina as well – those were the four I was looking at the most.”
But shortly after visiting the campus, he said, “two big positives” of playing in TigerTown – a “family feel” and proximity to home – became etched in his mind.
“I really liked the family feel at Clemson,” Rudolph said. “I think the coaches there are true to their word and are really good guys – guys I think I'll enjoy being around for four years of my life. And obviously the proximity to home is second to none, and it couldn't be a better situation, just convenience-wise, as far as getting to and from school.
“So those two (factors) are two big positives for me, so I'm just happy and truly blessed to be in the situation I am, and I'm just looking forward to the future. So that's why I'm going to Clemson, yes, sir.”