Augustana graduate contends for NFL draft

Logan Swanson is a contender for the NFL draft this spring, but his life centers around much more than football.

Swanson graduated from Augustana last December, finishing out with majors in secondary education and STEM composite, an interdisciplinary program in the natural sciences focusing on math and physics. Swanson also graduated with minors in computer science and entrepreneurship.

Swanson’s time at Augustana was the full liberal arts experience. He was involved in almost every corner of campus, including the theater department, Augiethon, Dungeons and Dragons club, choir, math club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

“Football took priority mostly, but all the other stuff, if I had time, were other passions of mine that make me who I am,” Swanson said.

Swanson was just as involved in an equally broad variety of activities in junior high and high school. He was active in theater, football, wrestling, track, student council, choir, band and the local YMCA at Mankato East High School.

Swanson started working young to help support himself. At 14, he got a job at McDonalds and continued working there until he started college.

“I know how to be responsible, how to take care of myself and just how to be a hard worker in general because if there was something I wanted as a kid I had to work for it,” Swanson said.

Through student council, Swanson also started to DJ  in high school. He worked at school dances, proms and community events. After high school graduation, he started doing weddings with a DJ company before eventually going solo.

Swanson developed the stage name DJ Zauce through working events at Augustana and the larger Sioux Falls area with his own company Good Times Entertainment.

“It’s the only job where everyone is in a good mood,” Swanson said. “No one goes to a wedding to be crabby. Everyone is in a good mood and there to have a good time and party and have joy.”

Last year, Swanson released his first EP, a six-track rap album titled “Year of the Zauce,” which combines elements of all genres.

“I’ve always liked music ever since I was a kid,” Swanson said. “I like all genres of music.”

With Good Times Entertainment, Swanson DJs for about 40 weddings per summer. Since founding his business two years ago, Swanson estimates he has done 120 weddings as well as countless Augustana events and dances. His favorite part of doing weddings is seeing all the traditions each family brings to their celebration.

Apart from being a DJ, Swanson has also been substitute teaching at Washington High School and Harrisburg North Middle School. His favorite age group of kids to teach are middle schoolers.

“They’re smart enough that I don’t have to teach behavior, but they’re not smart enough that they’re too cool for school,” Swanson said. “They’re awkward, and I think it’s funny.”

Swanson has been playing football since he was in third grade. He played one grade up all throughout middle school and played varsity all four years of high school. He redshirted his first year at Augustana, but began starting games as a defensive tackle his second year and continued to do so until graduation. He was a team captain last year for the Vikings’ football team.

“Football is super fun,” Swanson said. “I like the competition, and I like being on defense because it’s all reactive and there’s more strategy to it in my opinion.” 

When it comes to the NFL draft, Swanson is mostly in the dark. He doesn’t know for sure when he will find out if he has been drafted or not. The official draft started on April 29. 

“The NFL is very cut-throat, so just because they talk to me doesn’t mean that they’re going to draft me,” Swanson said.

Seventeen scouts came to watch Swanson play this past fall. Swanson said the success of his fellow players and Augustana alumni as well as his personal success have attracted scouts to watch him.

“It definitely adds a new pressure, but it’s also kind of humbling I would say,”  Swanson said. “Like, you know you’re catching people’s attention, and they are interested in you. That’s cool because it’s like everybody’s dream to play in the NFL.”

Swanson has attended multiple senior showcase events to show off his skills to professional league recruiters and has signed with an agent. The biggest showcase so far was the College Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas, where all 32 NFL teams were present. Being invited to events like the showcase means Swanson is higher on the list to be drafted than other players.

At the College Gridiron Showcase, Swanson practiced drills and scrimmages with other players from around the country.

“It was very cool to see different competition new competition in general  and to compare myself to DI schools,” Swanson said. “Just to compete against them and be like ‘Wow I’m actually just as good or talented as this guy, even though he is a DII player.’”

Football coach Jerry Olszewski said Swanson has stood out to scouts for his leadership skills and his passion to serve his team.

“He is just passionate about serving others and wants others valued,” Olszewski said. “That’s a big thing for him is to see the value in everybody regardless of how much they play or how much success they’ve had in the field. That’s what I think is so uniquely special about Logan.”

Olszewski also said draft prospects are based on player performance. He cited Swanson’s four-year-starter career at Augustana as well as the number of tackles, sacks and pressures he successfully performed his junior year as reasons behind the NFL’s interest in him. Just about every team has been watching Swanson, according to Olszewski.

Olszewski has known Logan since he was a junior in high school when Olszewski was the coach at Mankato East High School. 

 “He is part of my family, and I mean that in the greatest extent,” Olszewski said. “My wife and my children have known Logan since before he was at Augustana. He has taught my daughter’s piano. He has been at home watching my children. He has gone to events with us as a family, and, obviously in football, he is as good a player and teammate as I’ve ever had.”

Olszewski hopes Swanson lands on the right team. However, even if Swanson doesn’t land a contract with a professional football team, Olszewski said he is confident he will have a fulfilling career.

Swanson is open to taking any contract from the United States Football League or above, in means of prestige. He hopes to try playing professional football for at least one or two years even if he doesn’t make it into the NFL initially. If he isn’t drafted into the NFL after two years of playing in another league, his chances are slim.

If drafted, Swanson hopes to continue substitute teaching and DJing during the off season. He wasn’t concerned about those opportunities going away in lieu of the draft and said he would return to DJing and teaching later. Swanson still waits for the draft verdict.

“As soon as I know, the world will know,” Swanson said.

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