Anna Claire Thomas
La. Tech Assistant Director Athletic Communications
After putting together yet another record-breaking season, Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson has been named the 2018 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year.
Ferguson becomes the first Bulldog to be named Defensive Player of the Year since LA Tech joined Conference USA in 2013. The last time LA Tech had a Defensive Player of the Year in any conference dates back to 2011 when Adrien Cole was voted the WAC Defensive Player of the Year. This marks the 11th time in program history the Bulldogs have garnered a defensive superlative award. Since joining Conference USA six years ago, the Bulldogs have had an individual award winner seven times.
After choosing to return for his senior season with the Bulldogs, Ferguson added to what was already a decorated career for the St. Francisville native with a single-season record 15 sacks. With one game left in his career, Ferguson has already broken the Louisiana Tech and Conference USA records for career sacks (42.5), while he is 1.5 sacks shy of tying the all-time NCAA record for career sacks held by Terrell Suggs (44).
Ferguson’s 15 sacks in 2018 is tied for the nation’s lead, while his 23.5 tackles for loss this year ranks first in C-USA and third in the country. Most recently, Ferguson was named one of four finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive end, while he also earned first team All-Conference USA honors on Tuesday for the third straight season.
This season, Ferguson became one of just six non-Power 5 players in the last 10 years to be named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award. Through 12 games, he has recorded 59 total tackles, including 33 solo tackles, while also registering nine quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a senior.
The Bulldogs will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii, in the next few weeks to compete against the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors in the SoFi Hawai’i Bowl on Dec. 22 at Aloha Stadium. The game is set for a 9:30 p.m. CT kickoff and will be broadcast live on ESPN.