LSU’s single-game sack record is four, set by Chuck Wiley in 1995. The single-season record is held by Oliver Lawrence, who brought down quarterbacks 12 times in 1989.
Junior defensive end Lewis Neal wasn’t far off from either those marks last season, especially when factoring in the ones he claims his unit missed.
Energized by Dave Aranda’s varying defensive looks, Neal would like to rectify that with 20 sacks this season, he said.
“Of course I’m chasing the sack record,” Neal said. “I was close last year, so I got to beat it this year. I’m happy that we’re in different positions, so we can give different looks and you keep the offense on their heels. I think there will be a lot more opportunities for all of us to be great and make big plays.”
Neal recorded a career-high three sacks against Florida and finished 2015 with eight, which puts him in a tie for 10th place on the single-season Tiger sack list. Twenty sacks in a season, of course, would be towering achievement.
Since 2005, only one collegiate player, Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil, has ever recorded that many sacks in a year. Rydell Malacon, LSU’s career leader in sacks, finished his four-year tenure with 25.
Fortunately for Neal, he’ll be attempting his goal from multiple positions, he said. Aranda’s ever-changing, 3-4 defense forces Neal and other members of the front seven to cross train, which also benefits fellow pass rushers like outside linebacker Arden Key.
“We play every position on the line,” Neal said. “I know every technique because of the schemes. I ain’t got no choice. I got to know the techniques.”
He'll have competition — from his own team. Key also has a sack mark in mind.
"Twenty," Key smiled.
Eyes on the Pies
An experienced and talented LSU team features 11 players on 15 different preseason award watch lists.
The award watch lists range from the Walter Camp Award — the college football player of the year award — to the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award. But one Tiger finds himself on, undoubtedly, the quirkiest preseason award watch list of them all.
SB Nation, a popular sports site, named redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Will Clapp to the Piesman Trophy watch list on Monday. The Piesman Trophy honors “the best play in which a lineman throws, catches, or runs with the ball,” according to SB Nation. “This play can come from any level of college football, from FBS to Division III.”
There are 45 players on the 2016 Piesman watch list, including 12 from the Southeastern Conference. Clapp merited recognition on the watch list based on a play last season.
Clapp jumped on a Leonard Fournette fumble in the end zone during the third quarter of LSU’s 38-17 loss to Ole Miss. Clapp was credited with a rushing touchdown of no gain.
Last year, Southeastern Louisiana defensive tackle Ashton Henderson was the recipient of the first-ever Piesman Trophy, meeting the award’s criteria with a 45-yard scoop-and-score against Florida Tech.