Bolin qualifies as finalist for NFF trophy

AU player’s 52 yard hail mary catch gained national attention


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Former AU football player Logan Bolin.

Madison Graver

The day October 5, 2019 may go down in Ashland University football history. With three seconds left in the game and the Eagles down by three points to Grand Valley State, they were going to need a miracle to pull out the win – and that’s exactly what they did.

A 52-yard hail mary by AU quarterback Austin Brenner somehow found the hands of senior wide receiver Logan Bolin and chaos consumed the field. Before anyone knew it, the catch was being covered by Barstool Sports, ESPN and every local news site in Northeast Ohio.

For Bolin specifically, it still remains as one of his favorite moments in his football career thus far. But that one catch isn’t his only defining moment.

Ever since taking up football in second grade, Bolin has had a passion for the sport. His father, Ray Bolin, was an All-American running back at AU so being a part of the game was almost in his blood.

“He kind of instilled that football mindset into me,” Bolin said of his dad. “It’s been my favorite sport my whole life and I’ve played every other sport just for fun but football’s always been my main thing.”

While attending Midview High School, Bolin was considered one of Northeast Ohio’s top offensive players during his senior season and was responsible for 21 touchdowns and nearly 1,400 receiving yards during the 2015 season. Once he graduated and made his commitment to AU, there was very little that was able to slow him down. 

When making his decision to attend AU, Bolin assures that there was no pressure from his dad to attend his alma mater and left the decision completely up to him. 

“It just felt right,” he said. “It made sense because it’s only an hour and 15 minutes from home, academically it fit all my needs and getting the personal attention in the classroom versus being in a lecture hall with 300 people was cool. Ultimately, it came down to the academics and the football program here.”

From the perspective of AU football head coach Lee Owens, it wasn’t all that easy to get Bolin locked in to AU since he was being recruited by so many other high caliber schools.

“It was a real battle to get him in here,” Owens said. “Coming out of high school he was a tremendous receiver and his numbers were amazing and he had a lot of opportunities to go a lot of different places. He never settled. He’s worked hard every day that he’s been here to get better and better.”

Once he started playing at AU, an injury early into his freshman year forced him to miss the remainder of that season, but he didn’t allow that to alter the course of how he would spend the next few years with the program.

By the time his sophomore season rolled around, Bolin was healthy and ready to put in the work to become a vital member of the team. That mentality was maintained throughout the following seasons as he proved to coaches, teammates and fans that his hard work would result in success.

“It’s made me recognize the commitment that it takes to be successful,” he said. “It teaches you a lot about your drive and your effort and all the stuff you have to go through which I think helps a lot of people out after school.”

All of his hard work, both on the field and in the classroom, never went unnoticed as he found himself on the GLIAC Football All-Academic Team in 2017, the GLIAC Football All-Academic Excellence Team in 2018 and 2019, the All-GLIAC Second Team in 2019 and is now a semifinalist for the 2020 NFF William V. Campbell Trophy.

The Campbell Trophy is awarded to the college football player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance and is considered by many to be the ‘Academic Heisman’. Previous winners include Justin Herbert from the University of Oregon in 2019 and Christian Wilkins from Clemson University in 2018. This also marks the sixth consecutive year that AU has had a Campbell Trophy semifinalist.

The NFF will announce the finalists in November, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. The winner will be announced later this year.

“I was kinda shocked, just knowing all the people that have been nominated in the past and stuff,” Bolin said of his nomination. “It’s a cool honor to have. It means a lot. It’s just a testament to what I’ve done here in my career as well as what we’ve done as a team and academically outside of football just getting involved.”

Owens emphasized how deserving Bolin is of the honor and how it reflects positively not on just the football program but for the university as well.

“It’s a combination of great academics, being a great player and being a good person who’s involved in the community,” he said. “The combination of character, academics and playing ability are all factored into it and to be a semifinalist is a really big deal. It’s really good for the university and the athletic department.”

Despite all of Bolin’s success over the years, he isn’t one to focus on his individual stats or gloat about all the honors he’s achieved. In his mind, it’s all about doing things for the good of the team.

“Personal achievements like that are good to look back on but ultimately if that comes with winning games that’s what’s really important to me,” Bolin said. “If me getting all those stats creates wins then that’s cool to me, but I’m not really that worried about it.”

AU football game against the Davenport Panthers (Submitted by: Logan Bolin)

After graduating from AU this past May with his degree in finance, Bolin is sticking around to complete his Masters and give the Eagles one more season before he moves on to pursue his career further.

While the 2020-2021 season won’t be taking place, Bolin and the rest of the team are looking forward to what the future holds.