In the first year after Myles Garrett left early and became the No. 1 overall draft pick, Texas A&M leads the SEC in sacks.
With 40 regular-season sacks, the Aggies showed their pass rush was a lot more than just Garrett, the athletic superstar who moved to the NFL after his third season in College Station and ended up going No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns in April’s NFL Draft.
A&M’s 40 sacks rank behind only USC (43 sacks) and Northern Illinois and TCU (41 each). But the NCAA uses a sacks-per-game standard to determine sack leaders, and since USC and TCU each appeared in conference championship games, the NCAA lists Texas A&M in a tie for third behind Northern Illinois and Miami (who only played 11 games because of Hurricane Irma).
That figure comfortably tops the SEC rankings. Only Auburn (36 sacks) and LSU (35 sacks) are even close. It’s also better than last season, when a Garrett-led pass rush finished with 39 sacks, good for a tie for 14th in the nation and second in the SEC behind Alabama.
Those sacks have forced opposing quarterbacks backward for a total loss of 239 yards.
This pattern isn’t new – it’s been noted here in October, when A&M ranked first in the nation in sacks. The Aggies didn’t quite keep up that pace, but they still have a chance to move back to the top with a strong effort in the Belk Bowl against Wake Forest (although the Demon Deacons, who have allowed just 17 sacks this year, have been good at protecting mobile quarterback John Wolford).
Here’s a breakdown of A&M’s 40 sacks at the end of the regular season. Of those sacks, 39 have been credited to individuals, while one is listed statistically as a rare “team” sack.
8.5 – defensive end Landis Durham
5.5 – linebacker Otaro Alaka
5.5 – linebacker Tyrel Dodson
5.5 – defensive end Jarrett Johnson
3.0 – linebacker Anthony Hines III
2.5 – defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson
1.0 – defensive end Micheal Clemons
1.0 – linebacker Justin Dunning
1.0 – linebacker Buddy Johnson
1.0 – defensive tackle Kingsley Keke
1.0 – defensive tackle Daylon Mack
1.0 – defensive back Charles Oliver
1.0 – defensive tackle Jayden Peevy
0.5 – defensive back Deshawn Capers-Smith
0.5 – linebacker Keeath Magee
0.5 – safety Armani Watts
Even better news for Aggies fans: Of that group, only Henderson, Johnson and Watts are seniors. Even though it’s possible that draft-eligible players such as Mack could exit early for the NFL, it looks as if new coach Jimbo Fisher won’t have any shortage of pass-rushing talent when he takes charge in College Station next year.
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