Former Bulldog Ferguson passes away at 26

Courtesy photo of LA Tech Athletic Communications

One of the all-time greats in Louisiana Tech football history, Jaylon Ferguson, has passed away at the way-too-early age of 26, the Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday morning.

No additional details about Ferguson’s death have been released at this time.

“We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” the team said in a statement. “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.”

Ferguson terrorized opposing quarterbacks during his time in Ruston, ending his Bulldog career with an NCAA career record of 45 sacks. During his senior year when he earned numerous All-American honors, the defensive end set a single season program record with 17.5 sacks.

Those who knew Ferguson personally, remember him fondly.

“I was fortunate to be able to cover Jaylon’s career at Louisiana Tech from start to finish,” said Anna Claire Thomas, who served as the Tech football SID during Ferguson’s final two years. “Not only was he one of the most talented players to ever step foot on the field for the Bulldogs, but I also remember Jaylon as one of the best student-athletes to work with from a media perspective.

“He treated every single person he met with the utmost respect and always showed up with a smile on his face no matter what the situation was. I’ll always cherish the time spent working with Jaylon over the course of his LA Tech career.”

On the field, Ferguson was a ferocious competitor. Off the field, people remember him in a much different way.

“He had a contagious smile,” said Tech Associate AD Ed Jackson, who is the God-father of one of Ferguson’s three children. “A personality that was outstanding. I was able to spend some time with him and even baptized him in the church.

“He was just an outstanding player. The Ravens head coach made a comment the other day that (Jaylon) had a bright future and that he came into camp in great shape. I know they were looking for some great things from him.”

After starring at West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, Ferguson signed with the Bulldogs. He earned multiple All-American honors during his career in Ruston, including Football Writers Association of American (FWAA) Freshman All-American honors in 2016 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.

Former LA Tech teammates of Ferguson took to social media Wednesday upon hearing of the tragic news.

“RIP … this is tough. One of the most humble human beings I know.” – Ezekiel Barnett

“I am at a loss for words … this hurts. Rest in peace Sack Daddy.” – Jordan Bradford

“I can’t believe this. Rest in peace bro.” – Eric Kendzior

“Lost a real one. Rest easy man.” – Jaiden Cole

The four-time all-Conference USA selection was named the 2018 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year after totaling a program record 17.5 sacks during the season. He ended his Bulldog career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in sacks with 45.0 earning the nickname “Sack Daddy.”

Louisiana Tech VP and Director of Athletics summed up the

“It’s a somber day around our athletic department and community,” said current Tech VP and Director of Athletics Eric Wood. “Those who were privileged enough to truly know Jaylon have nothing but wonderful things to say about the young man. His records and honors prove he was one of the best to ever wear a Bulldog uniform. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family as well as the Baltimore Ravens organization.”

He totaled 187 career tackles, including 65 career tackles for loss. 

Ferguson was selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Ravens.