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Tech legend, NFL linebacker Jaylon Ferguson dead at 26

Thursday, June 23, 2022
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Photo by Tom Morris
Louisiana Tech's "Sack Daddy" Jaylon Ferguson has died at the age of 26, according to a statement released by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens Wednesday morning. Ferguson is the all-time leader in sacks in FBS history with 45.

Record-setting Louisiana Tech sack master Jaylon Ferguson has died at the age of 26, according to a statement released by the Baltimore Ravens Wednesday morning.

Ferguson, who set an FBS record for career sacks with 45 while dominating as a Bulldog in Ruston, was entering his fourth season with the Ravens after being drafted by Baltimore in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“We are profoundly saddened by the passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” the Ravens said in a statement Wednesday. “He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon.”

There have been no details released regarding the cause of death. Ferguson had been working out with the team preparing for the 2022 season.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Baltimore police did not confirm a cause of death at this time.

“On June 21, 2022, at approximately 11:25 p.m., Northern District patrol officers responded to a home in the 400 block of Ilchester Avenue for a report of a questionable death,” Baltimore police said. “Once there, officers located 26-yearold Jaylon Ferguson, unresponsive, being treated by medics. Ferguson never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead on the scene by medics. No signs of trauma was found or foul play suspected at this time.”

Though drafted as a defensive end out of Tech, Ferguson was moved to linebacker in the NFL. His teammates took to social media to express their sadness Wednesday.

“The last person I talked to leaving the facility. Spent almost everyday in the sauna together tryna see who gone last longer. Said it was our turn this year man. Ima miss you bro,” former LSU and current Baltimore linebacker Patrick Queen said via Twitter.

Ferguson earned the nickname “Sack Daddy” while at Louisiana Tech, becoming the most prolific pass rusher in NCAA history. He began to make a name for himself as a sophomore, recording 14.5 sacks.

It was his senior season that truly turned heads among NFL teams. He set the school record with 17.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss during a season in which he also totaled 64 tackles. As a four-year starter, “Sack Daddy” finished with 187 tackles, 66 tackles for loss, 45 sacks and 8 forced fumbles.

He was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year after his senior season in 2018.

Ferguson earned multiple All-American honors during his career in Ruston, including Football Writers Association of American (FWAA) Freshman All-American honors in 2015 and AP, FWAA, Walter Camp and Sporting News All-American honors in 2018. He was a finalist for the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award and a semifinalist for the 2018 Chuck Bednarik Award.

“The Louisiana Tech Football Family is saddened to hear the news of Jaylon Ferguson’s passing,” first year Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this time.”

In three seasons with the Ravens, Ferguson started 10 games and played in a total of 38. He registered 4.5 sacks to go with 67 tackles while missing parts of the past two seasons on the COVID-19 list.

A St. Francisville native, Ferguson signed with Louisiana Tech after a stellar prep career at West Feliciana High School. After redshirting his true freshman season, he broke out as a redshirt freshman in 2015 with 35 tackles, 6 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

Ferguson left a legacy as one of the greatest Bulldogs to play at Joe Aillet Stadium, but he also built a reputation as a solid teammate and dedicated member of the community. It was in the aftermath of the 2019 tornado that devastated Tech and Ruston that Ferguson put the NFL Draft spotlight on hold to help his teammates lend a hand to clean-up in the city.

Ferguson leaves behind a fiancée and three small children.