• John Macon Gillespie

Fortius Spotlight: Logan Vanderberry

Northwest Rankin junior linebacker was the buzz of the Fortius Project camp at MRA on Saturday after clocking an incredible 4.38 second 40-yard dash. On his initial run he was timed at 4.56 seconds.

Those lightning fast times have to make Cougar coaches feel good about where their defense stands for 2016. Vanderberry will roam the middle of the defense and with speed like he showed Saturday, he can be a true sideline-to-sideline guy at that spot.

“I went into the combine striving to run a 4.56 or lower, because that’s what I had clocked at school,” the rising senior told SES Mississippi. “When I ran my first I didn’t think I had run it as well as I could have. So i just tried to correct my takeoff and form for the second. I felt faster, but I was expecting anywhere near a 4.38.”

After clocking the camp’s best time in the 40, he became the focus of the chatter amongst the competitors on hand. Being in the middle of the competitive spirit of the camp was something he relished in.

Even more impressive that the near 200-pound Vanderberry was not a one-trick pony. In fact, he was just getting heated up. He also finished among the top tier of the 50-plus player event in each of the testing events. His broad and vertical jumps were particularly impressive. One thing was certain after seeing his showing at Fortius, Vanderberry is an explosive athlete, who is also sharp with the mental aspects of the game.

“The whole camp was a great experience, but I would have to say I really enjoyed all of the rest of the events like the shuttle, broad jump and vertical jump,” Vanderberry said. “I felt like I also did well in the shuttle and the vertical jump. Especially for it being my first chance to really record a vertical.

“Mainly because of the fun, competitiveness of the group I was with. We were all trying to top each other and that really fueled me.”

Despite leaving such a deep impression on those who saw him compete this weekend, the gracious linebacker contends that a few of his best qualities were not able to be measured with a stop watch or a tape measure.

“My ability to effectively read the offense, react quickly with what’s going on and most importantly, being able to work with my teammates,” Vanderberry explained when asked about his best qualities on the gridiron. “Working well withy my teammates would probably have to be my best quality.”

It just so happens that his ability to create and maintain bonds with his teammates coincides perfectly with the philosophy his coaches are trying to instill. Not only do his physical gifts allow him to contribute to his team, but his character makes him the perfect fit for the Cougars as well. The situation sets up for him to put forth a big time senior campaign.

“We’ve really had more team mentality since last offseason. Over this past year and these recent months the team has grown to become a brotherhood, and it’s increased our abilities as a whole,” He offered. “The coaches have really taught us about the importance of being able to count on one another.

“With this I’m able to count on all of my teammates to do their best, especially those 10 brothers I have on defense with me. It’s helped me focus on my job during plays since I’m able to trust the others to do their jobs.’

With that mindset in place he says it makes for better execution and positive results, “more often than not.”

So naturally, he holds expectations of the Cougars being a better team this coming Fall. Vanderberry feels they have what it takes and he also hopes to put his best foot forward, as well.

“I’m confident we’ll do better than last season, record-wise and performance-wise. I know we are capable to get to the playoffs. We have the talent and hard-working mentality to be a championship team,” He stated.

“I think I possess the abilities to be the best linebacker in Mississippi, so this season that’s what I’ll be going for. And what I believe I can achieve.”

Part of getting to where he wants to be means putting on weight, while maintaining his speed. His will to be the best he can be will power him towards his goals. So for the rest of the offseason he is increasing the “caliber of his workouts” and hitting more camps. Which could mean another go at a Fortius Project stop.

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