Thursday, August 1, 2013
Countdown to SEC kickoff: 28 days
By Chris Low
If you were ranking the SEC individual records most likely to never be broken, which ones would be at the very top of that list?
One that immediately comes to mind was set going on 25 years ago by perhaps the greatest pass-rusher to ever play the game. To this day, that number almost seems unfathomable: 27.
The late Derrick Thomas registered 27 sacks during the 1988 season and finished his Alabama career with 52 sacks. Both are SEC records, and nobody has come close to those numbers since Thomas left the Capstone for NFL stardom. In fact, the closest anybody in the SEC has come to 27 sacks in a season since Thomas established that dizzying benchmark was Mississippi State’s Willie Evans, who had 15 sacks in 2005. Georgia’s Jarvis Jones had 14.5 sacks last season, and South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney had 13. Is it realistic to think that Clowney could make a run at Thomas’ record this season? If Clowney could just get to 20 sacks and the Gamecocks have a successful season, he’d be right in the middle of the Heisman Trophy race. But 27 sacks? Think about it. In a 13-game season, that’s averaging just over two sacks per game, and Thomas needed just 12 games in 1988 to set his record. Of course, it’s not a given that Clowney will lead the SEC in sacks this season. He’ll have some stiff competition. The dark horse, if you will, is Florida’s Ronald Powell, who’s healthy and one of those guys who could explode after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. The Gators will move him around, and coach Will Muschamp said they’ll play more 3-4 this season to get both Powell and Dante Fowler Jr. on the field at the same time.