Purdue’s current starting strong safety had a monster senior season at West Liberty-Salem High School in West Liberty, Ohio, racking up 170 tackles en route to all-state honors. Yet, despite his statistics and postseason accolades, he received little interest from Division I schools because of his scrawny frame and small school competition.

Five years later, Logan Link has transformed into a full-time starter and one of the best players on Purdue’s defense.

“Purdue was the only Division I school who said I could come and walk on,” Link said. “I came here for a camp, and they must have seen something in me. I’m very fortunate that they gave me the opportunity. That’s all I could ask for.”

Link said his goal was eventually to contribute on special teams when he came to Purdue in 2007. Little did he know, he would become Purdue’s leading tackler in 2010 and a full-time starter for two seasons.

“All I ever wanted to do was come up here and prove to myself that I could play at this level,” Link said.

Link went three years without playing a down for the Boilermakers. After Purdue’s entire starting secondary graduated following the 2009 season, Link landed the strong safety spot during the following spring practice. He earned a scholarship after fall camp in 2010 and has been a mainstay in the secondary ever since.

Purdue head coach Danny Hope said he is not surprised Link has been successful in his Purdue career.

“Logan is a lot of fun to coach, and he is a great teammate,” Hope said. “He’s always been a physical player and a scrappy guy. He’s exceptionally good against the run at times. He’s come a long way in knowing how to play his position, but he’s always had a lot of fight and a lot of fire.”

Last season, Link’s younger brother Colin followed a similar path and joined the Boilermaker football team as a walk-on.

Logan says he has enjoyed the opportunity of living with and playing alongside his younger brother for two seasons.

“We’re really close,” Logan said. “It’s nice to be able to come to practice or go home and talk about a gameplan or talk about something the linebackers are doing well or the secondary is doing well and compare different meetings.”

Colin, who has three years of eligibility after his brother graduates, says he will always cherish his time at Purdue with his brother.

“It’s one thing to play with your brother growing up, but then to be able to play with him in college has been a great experience,” Colin said.

Colin said Logan has taught him the meanings of hard work and self-discipline in the two years they have had together at Purdue.

“Logan has taught me the attitude “I might have finished my workout, but I’m going to do extra,’” Colin said. “He helps me get my focus where it needs to be.”

Logan had one of his most satisfying performances as a Boilermaker last Saturday when his nine tackles helped limit Dan “Boom” Herron to his lowest rushing total of the season in Purdue’s upset victory over Ohio State.

“It was great to go out there and win, especially after what they did to us last year (defeated Purdue 49-0),” Logan, who grew up an Ohio State fan just an hour from Columbus, said. “We felt like we needed to go out there and prove something to win.”

He said the only feeling better than knocking off his home state team would be to win the next two games, bring the Old Oaken Bucket back to West Lafayette and go to a bowl game.

“Ohio State was only one game,” Logan said. “If we can finish 7-5 and 5-3 in the Big Ten and make it to a bowl game, that would really show that we brought the program back to where it was supposed to be.”

Colin said he couldn’t be more proud of his brother’s transformation from a walk-on to a major contributor on the defense.

“He used to be really upset about not being able to dress for road games,” Colin said. “Now when he goes home, all the Ohio State fans will say ‘Good job; you beat us, but we’re proud of you.’ It’s been awesome.”