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Rocklin quarterback fights to make the New Orleans Saints

Kilgore signs while taking the road less traveled
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Coming out of high school as a star quarterback does not always translate into a Heisman Trophy nor does the Heisman guarantee a career in the National Football League. Success in the NFL is an intangible known only to those who have experienced it.

Perhaps that is why Rocklin’s Logan Kilgore, who recently signed a three-year contract to play football for the New Orleans Saints, could have a great future in football.

“Football has always been my dream,” Kilgore said over the telephone from San Diego, where he and some other rookies have been training with Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “I’ve always set goals and being an NFL quarterback was the tip of the iceberg, and I sort of worked backward from there.”

What Kilgore meant was that he had set his sights on becoming an NFL quarterback before he was even old enough to go to high school. He was aware of what it would take to have a career in the NFL, so he carefully laid out his plan of action.

Kilgore was going to attend Rocklin High School, but changed his mind when Thunder football head coach Mike Wells left.

“When Mike Wells stopped coaching there I really started looking around for the best football in the Sacramento area,” Kilgore said. He chose Jesuit because of its reputation for academics and baseball, a sport he also liked playing.

The competition to play quarterback with the Marauders was fierce and he did not get a good deal of playing time, but he did get to work with quarterback guru Roger Theder. Theder had retired from coaching in college and the NFL and began working one-on-one with high school quarterbacks.

Kilgore’s first year in college was spent at Bakersfield College, a two-year school. As a freshman, he made conference player of the year and was recruited by Middle Tennessee State after their scouts saw him perform in a playoff game.

Kilgore said he planned to play one more year for Bakersfield, but MTS coach Rick Stockstill convinced him Tennessee should be his new home.

“I really wasn’t planning on signing until after my second year of junior college,” said Kilgore. “Coach Stockstill, he really approached me as a father-figure and I knew I could accomplish anything I wanted to at Middle Tennessee.”

Kilgore understood he would get the exposure he needed playing for a Division I school. The Blue Raiders played against some great teams in Conference USA and were featured on national television. But it wasn’t only exposure that opened NFL doors for him.

He had also been invited to serve as a counselor for a David Morris’ Quarterback Country minicamp. While there, he worked with former Saints quarterback Archie Manning and his sons Peyton and Eli, and was roommates with AJ McCarron. McCarron quarterbacked the University of Alabama to two successive NCAA championships.

“I’ve had so much help along the way,” Kilgore said, adding Rocklin plyometrics trainer Dave Warner to his list. “I’ve always been able to hold my own. I’m always the first one in and the last one out.”

Kilgore said his greatest assets were his decision making, work ethic and accountability to his team.

The 6-foot, 2-inch, 215-pound Rocklin native had a great career at Middle Tennessee State. He set some records and received his MBA in December, carrying a 4.0 grade-point-average. But that was not enough to secure a spot in the 2014 NFL Draft.

After interviewing a few player agents, Kilgore turned his career over to James “Bus” Cook. Cook had negotiated contracts for such notables as Brett Favre, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson, just to name a few.

At 24, Kilgore knew he was ready for the biggest stage of all and Cook landed him a three-year contract with the Saints as a free agent. Kilgore said he would leave San Diego on Sunday for New Orleans for a couple of days; then on to West Virginia for the opening of Saints’ training camp at The Greenbrier.

With his new contract and an MBA in hand, Kilgore said he is not much worried about his future. His sister Taylor is an anchor for CBS Sports in Nebraska, and he said he might give broadcasting a try when playing football is no longer an option.

“Regardless of what happens, I love football very much,” Kilgore said. “I made an amazing amount of contacts along the way so I’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but I know that I will be playing football for a few more years.”

In closing, Kilgore said he would never forget his roots. The house he grew up in, his parents Bobby and Laura Kilgore and all the friends he has made. And he said that included his hometown newspaper The Placer Herald, after being interviewed by some of the biggest news outlets in the country.

“Once you’ve gotten over some big hurdles and earned the respect of the right people,” Kilgore said, “things start falling into place.”

Indeed, they do.