From the time Logan Koshenka was a young kid, he's had one goal in mind.
The Bellaire Big Reds' senior just wanted a chance to play college football at the Division I level.
Koshenka is going to have his chance after he committed as a walk-on to the University of Tulsa's Golden Hurricane.
"I received a good bit of attention from Division II and III schools, and although I am thankful for those schools wanting me, it's always been my dream to play Division I. Anything less would've eaten at me for the rest of my life."
After garnering some attention from the University of Massachusetts, Koshenka did some research and stumbled across Tulsa and after talking with Tulsa assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Jess Loepp, he and his parents decided to make the nearly 15-hour drive to Oklahoma to visit the Golden Hurricane's campus and facilities.
"Tulsa gave me the best opportunity to play," Koshenka said. "The coaches were very welcoming. My decision was extremely easy to make after visiting because it just felt like home. I took a tour, sat in on a class, met with professors and advisers and it was truly a perfect fit for me both academically and athletically."
Koshenka is well aware of the up-hill climb that he faces as a walk-on. However, he's eager and willing to do all of the things necessary to earn a spot on the team and eventually get on the field.
"I actually like the situation I am in, believe it or not," Koshenka said. "Walk-ons are the underdogs, which means they have to work the hardest. I've overcome many challenges before, so I'm ready to stick it out and work hard. My goal is to prove worthy and earn a scholarship as soon as possible."
At Bellaire, the 5-9, 175 pounder was a standout at linebacker for Jose Davis' squad. He played a key role in helping lead the Big Reds back to the postseason for the first time since 2006.
"Logan was a true warrior for our program," Davis said. "He was there during some very trying times and was a huge part as we turned the corner this past season. His unselfishness was his biggest asset to us."
Koshenka battled some "nagging injuries" during the season, which caused him to play primarily one way. He recorded 60.5 tackles, 56 solo stops, including 11 for loss. He also forced three fumbles.
"Logan made a sacrifice to just play defense for us," Davis said. "You don't find that in many kids anymore and he's a huge reason we were able to find success. Logan will be truly missed by myself and our program. I am hopeful that others can follow his lead."
Davis, who was extremely complimentary of Koshenka's family and upbringing, was nothing but supportive when Koshenka first approached his head coach with his goal of playing at the Division I level.
"I knew that if anybody could do it, it would be him," Davis said. "With his desire and work ethic to accomplish things that people say he can't, I expect Logan to do well."
According to both Koshenka and Davis, his speed will be the one thing that he must improve to play at the major college level. However, the biggest hurdle for any athlete transitioning to a higher level of play is the mental aspect.
"I have to keep believing in myself," Koshenka said. "I am confident that I can compete with those guys at Tulsa. Right now, I am working on speed training, getting stronger and preparing myself the best I can."
Seeing that Tulsa is nearly 1,000 miles from Bellaire and there's only one Ohio native listed on the Golden Hurricane roster, battling through that could be an issue, too.
"That distance will be a challenge, but I truly think Logan's work ethic will keep him motivated," Davis said. "There will be trying times when things may not be going well on the field and being halfway across the country can get lonely. So, finding that special coach, friend or place that can help him fight through it will be very important."
Along with football, Logan is a standout in the classroom. He maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is ranked fourth in the Class of 2013. He's a member of the National Honor Society, where he serves as treasurer, and he's the sports editor for the yearbook staff.
Logan, who plans on majoring in entrepreneurship, is the son of Doug and Carrie Koshenka.
Staskey can be reached at email@example.com