Usually when a player makes an impact in the NFL, fans are quick to memorize where he went to college. However, many such aficionados don't realize that DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora attended Troy University.
Brandon Lang is another Trojan, seemingly appearing out of nowhere, making an impact. The 6 foot 3 inch, 256-pound senior is one of the best defensive ends in all of college football.
Last season, Lang lead the Trojans with 10.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 28 quarterback hurries. He finished first in the Sun Belt Conference and 12th in the FBS in sacks. The 17.5 TFL ranked Lang second in the Sun Belt and 14th nationally.
Lang set a new school record for TFL yards with 115, breaking the the mark of 103 set by Ware in 2004.
Lang displayed an ability to also defend the run as he completed the season as the seventh best tackler with 69 tackles.
Against FIU, Lang was credited with 11 quarterback hurries, seven tackles, and a sack. In the game versus North Texas, he had a season-high 10 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss.
For his efforts in 2008, Lang was named first-team All-Sun Belt.
Lang's success last season did not come without hours of sweat and sacrifice.
He worked endlessly in the off-season to regain his renowned speed and explosiveness that was reduced when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2007. The season-ending injury occurred in only the third game of the season versus Oklahoma State when Lang was blocked.
In his freshman year at Troy, Lang played all 13 games in a reserve role and recorded 4.5 sacks, 26 total tackles, nine quarterback hurries, and one forced fumble.
Not only are the Trojans overjoyed about Lang's success last season, they feel fortunate just to have his services.
Lang originally signed with Georgia but attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. in 2004 when he couldn't achieve the needed SAT score. Lang committed to Troy in June of 2005, but he didn't participate in football, instead working on his academics at Troy and at a junior college in Kansas.
The 2009 season has yet to begin, but the accolades for Lang are already accumulating.
Along with being named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team, he has been placed on the watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, an award presented to the nation's top defensive end.
Lang is also on the watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award. This trophy is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football.
Todd McShay of Scouts Inc. has Lang projected to be drafted by the New York Giants with the 24th pick in a mock draft that included collegiate players entering their fourth year on campus.
Obviously, Lang's stellar statistics are based on more than just playing in the Sun Belt Conference.
In Greek mythology, Greek soldiers hid inside a wooden horse as part of a surprise attack on the Trojans. In 2009, the Trojans possess a horse they unleash to attack on opposing offenses.
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