LAFAYETTE — Senior defensive lineman Christian Ringo is all smiles these days, but that’s really nothing new — even before he was poised to become the most successful pass rusher in Louisiana-Lafayette history, Ringo could usually be spotted with a grin.
But even the gregarious Ringo has a nasty side, and that’s the one the Cajuns opponents have been acquainted with often this season — more often than not in their own backfield.
“It’s almost like we know it’s going to happen,” senior linebacker Boris Anyama said. “If everyone else does their job, we know he’s going to eat. When he eats, we all eat.”
With at least two games remaining and a third likely coming in the form of a bowl game, Ringo is in line to smash multiple single season and career records for the Cajuns.
Ringo, who currently has 10.5 sacks, needs one more to break Jeff Mitchell and Conrad Lewis’ single-season record of 11, which both set in the 1993 season. If he gets that sack, he’ll also tie Mitchell’s career record of 21.
Ringo would need to string together several dominating performances to break Mithcell’s career record for tackles for loss — he needs 11 to break the record — but the single-season record may fall next week. Ringo needs just 1.5 tackles for loss, a number he’s topped five times this season, to tie Mitchell’s single-season mark.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s something I don’t take lightly,” Ringo said. “But I’ve never been a fan of individual things, I’m more of a team player. I’ll give my teammates credit, because it wouldn’t be possible without them.”
The fact that he’s even in position to be the Cajuns most prolific pass rusher in history is a feat in itself. Ringo was not heavily recruited as a two-star recruit coming out of Forest Hill High School in Jackson, Mississippi.
He held offers from the Cajuns, Memphis and “a lot of SWAC schools and JUCOs.” It was a tough pill to swallow for a Mississippi kid who dreamed of playing for one of the state’s big institutions.
“If you were to ask me what school I was going to coming out of high school I would’ve definitely told you Mississippi State or Ole Miss, but not getting those offers, UL gave me the chance to play Division I football,” Ringo said, before adding, “definitely with a chip on my shoulder.”
But that mean streak won’t be there when Ringo takes Cajun Field for the final time. He hopes beyond hope he’ll have his usual smile on his face, but he’s not making any promises.
“Hopefully anything but emotional,” Ringo said. “I just don’t want any tears to come out of my face. I want to cherish it. I know it’s going to be very emotional, but that’s the last thing I want it to be.
“I don’t know, who likes emotion man?