New York Atlas SSDM Danny Logan

How Danny Logan joins Jets’ Sauce Gardner as elite lockdown defender in New York

By Lauren Merola | Dec 11, 2023

Danny Logan grew up strictly as a two-way midfielder. He won two Ohio state high school championships playing both sides of the ball for Upper Arlington High School. He was named the Ohio Division I Midfielder of the Year for high school lacrosse, twice, and was recruited to Denver in such capacity.

He was a traditional midfielder. Until he arrived on campus.

Logan started his career with the Pioneers in 2017 playing more offense on the second midfield line before former Denver coach Bill Tierney swiftly moved him to short-stick defensive midfield. The next season, Logan split time between offensive midfield and SSDM before starting all 15 games in 2019 on the defensive side of the ball. That season, he grabbed a career-high 55 ground balls and caused a career-high 16 turnovers. From then on, he was a full-time SSDM.

Logan took to the position quickly, ending his Denver career third in program history in caused turnovers (50) and eighth in ground balls (186). As disruptive as he was in Denver, he is dominant in the Premier Lacrosse League. Logan is No. 18 in the 2023 Premier Lacrosse League Top 50. He ranked Nos. 24 and 12 in 2021 – as a rookie – and 2022, respectively.

Now, as Atlas settles in New York, there’s a new lockdown defender in the state, and it isn’t Sauce Gardner. 

The New York Atlas SSDM and New York Jets cornerback wear different equipment but have comparable jobs. They both guard some of their respective league’s fastest and most dexterous players in one-on-one matchups, and they both do it in elite fashion.

In 26 times Logan was the closest defender to the shooter during the 2023 season, only once did the shooter score, per PLL advanced stats. Similar to Gardner, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year who gave up one touchdown during his 2022 campaign, who, through Week 12 of this season, allowed 225 yards on 409 coverage snaps, averaging 0.55 yards per cover snap, per Jets X-Factor.

Both “have to be scrappy,” Logan said.

“You’re targeted on every play and oftentimes you’re left one-on-one… That’s why I like watching [NFL] cornerbacks guard other teams’ top receivers,” he continued. “You’re watching them guard these superfreaks of athletes and they’re left on their own to fend for themselves and they have to be tough.”

Logan studies NFL defensive backs now as a SSDM, but grew up as a two-way midfielder and running back, which he played through high school, in Columbus, Ohio, gobsmacked by the success of former Ohio State and NFL running backs Archie Griffin and Eddie George.

Where Logan is from, “Ohio State is such a big part of everyone’s lives,” he said. So hearing stories about Griffin, the only college football player to win the Heisman Trophy twice (1974, 1975), and George, who posted seven 1,000+ rushing yard seasons in the NFL, Logan wanted to make opponents “look like they weren’t in the same league” as him, like Griffin and George did, Logan said.

Logan, like his New York counterpart in Gardner, rose to the top of his league’s ranks as a rookie. Logan was named an All-Star three times in as many seasons as a pro, winning back-to-back George Boiardi Hard Hat SSDM Awards in 2021 and 2022. But as “hard hat” in the name – and George Boiardi’s legacy – indicates, it’s not a glamorous position and is rarely summarized by the stat sheet.

“There’s a trait with all short-stick D middies that’s innate in their being: They’re tough, they’re relentless, they never give up,” Logan said. “Oftentimes, it’s a pretty difficult position. You’re going to get beat every once in a while and it’s all about having that relentless attitude to come back and continue to guard some of the best players in the world. Overall, you have to try and be as athletic as you can be. Working on your body, working on your agility and working on your feet to be able to stay with some of these fast and shifty players.”

Mix that in with scouting players, learning tendencies, watching film, sliding and handling the ball in transition and you have the responsibilities of a SSDM. Throw in an additional handful of goals per season, and you have Danny Logan.