Kuechly continues to pile up tackles

November, 24, 2011
11/24/11
11:07
AM ET
NEWTON, Mass. -- If this is it, if Friday’s game against Miami (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) is the last at Boston College for Luke Kuechly he will leave quite a mark on the history books.

He’s already the ACC’s career leader in tackles, with 523, and owns the top two single-season marks for tackles in the conference’s history (183 in 2010, 182 and counting in 2011).

That 183 mark also happens to be the school’s single-season record. So if he collects just two tackles on Friday -- a safe bet, considering his streak of 33 straight games with double-digit tackles is the best active streak in the nation -- he’ll break two records: his own single-season mark and the BC career tackles mark.

[+] EnlargeLuke Kuechly
Michael Tureski/Icon SMILuke Kuechly could be a top 15 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Stephen Boyd owns that one for a couple of more days, having piled up 524 stops from 1991 to 1994. But he knows the end of his stay at the top of that category in the BC books is near.

“I hear about it every day, someone usually sends me an email about it,” Boyd said in an email. “I think he's a great player and I bet he would give a lot of those tackles back to be playing in the ACC championship. I have never met him but I have seen him play. He does things you can't teach.”

Boyd, who played seven seasons for the Detroit Lions and made two Pro Bowls, now coaches football at Chaminade High School in Mineola, N.Y. The former Eagles linebacker said he’s very impressed that Kuechly will likely break the record in just his third season.

The only person who doesn’t sound impressed is Kuechly.

“I didn’t know a lot about it, and then just people started talking about it,” Kuechly said of the records. “So that’s when you become more familiar with it. It’s cool; somebody mentioned I got something last week. And it’s cool and stuff, but I just want to win. That’s what it comes down to, is winning.

“For me, that’s what makes football fun, is winning. That’s what makes competing fun, is winning. That’s what you do it for. Winning is pretty much everything for me.”

While Kuechly doesn’t like to talk about the records he’s set or those he may set, Boyd’s perspective allows him to talk about it freely.

“It means I had great players in front of me, next to me and behind me,” Boyd said of the record he’s held for 17 years. “I never thought about it because as a linebacker your job is to make tackles. I never thought about the ones I made, I usually concentrated and studied the ones I didn't make.

“We always worked on being great tacklers and getting better every week,” he said. “As a linebacker you have to find a way to get to the ball and make the play. Sometimes you have to throw your body around and you have play with reckless abandon. It’s not always going to be pretty but that's OK, as long as you get the guy down and you stop them, it doesn't matter.

“Having a total disregard for your body is the only way to play, that may sound barbaric but it's true,” he said. “Luke plays this way, that's why I like him.”

For his part, the finalist for the Nagurski, Lombardi and Butkus Awards said he’d almost rather not be on the field as much as he has been, accolades be damned.

“The less we’re on the field the better chance we have to win, the less we’re on the field the less opportunities there are for tackles,” he said. “That’s how it needs to be -- the defense is getting off the field and the offense is staying on the field.”

Kuechly’s been consistent in saying he hasn’t thought about what he’ll do after the season, whether he’ll return to BC for his senior season or declare early for the NFL draft, where he’s projected as a first-round pick.

“I’ll probably make some calls and ask some certain people,” he said before practice Tuesday. “But right now I’ll just see what happens with the whole thing. I don’t really have a plan, like ‘All right, this date I’ll be doing this, this date I’m doing this.’”

For now, he’s enjoying being a college kid.

“I think it’s good. I mean, what do we got to worry about? All we got to worry about is going to class and going to football. That’s really about it right now,” he said. “You’re with a bunch of guys your own age, all my best friends are on the team.

“Sometimes you hate it, sometimes you love it. School’s sometimes rough, I’m like ‘Why am I here?’ Then you go out and play and you’re with all your friends and it’s, ‘Oh, this is sweet.’”

He has at least one more game as an Eagle, and for now that’s what Kuechly’s focused on.

“I think it’s a big game,” he said. “This is gonna be the last thing that’s in our mouth for the offseason. It’s always good to win your last game and hopefully we can do that.”

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

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