BATON ROUGE, La – A lot of Tiger legends have donned the No. 18 jersey. Matt Mauck. Jacob Hester. Tre’Davious White. And currently Avery Atkins and Damone Clark.
Clark, the senior linebacker, is having his best season yet. Probably the best season of any linebacker in the country.
He is LSU’s leading tackler so far in 2021. He was without a doubt the bright spot in the loss to Ole Miss.
“I looked myself in the mirror, and last year I was nowhere near where I needed to be,” Clark says. “Even now, I’m still nowhere near where I need to be. There’s always room for improvement. I got a few things I’ve got to improve on from this game.”
It’s hard to imagine Clark having a better season. He leads the nation in total tackles with 98 on the year, averaging over 12 tackles per game.
Against Ole Miss, he recorded a season-high 18 tackles, one tackle for loss, and one forced fumble.
“Damone’s a hell of a player,” senior center Liam Shanahan says. “I’ve noticed that since I got here. He’s a tremendous leader for us.”
“I think he’s playing like an All-American,” head coach Ed Orgeron says. “I’m so proud of Damone. He’s all over the field making tackles. He’s a tremendous leader. He’s having a fantastic year. We are very proud of him.”
He already has over 30 more tackles this season through eight games than he did through all of last season.
The Baton Rouge native took a major step from his junior to senior year.
“This past offseason, I looked myself in the mirror and I just told myself you’re not doing the things you need to be doing,” Clark says. “I had a talk with Coach O and he told me some of the things he felt I needed to work on. I worked on those things. I give credit to Coach Baker as well. He came in the spring and we sat down and started from scratch. I’m just appreciative.”
His motivation to keep working through a season with so much adversity is credited to his teammates and his one-year-old daughter.
“The biggest thing that’s keeping me going throughout the season is my daughter,” Clark says. “I have a one year old daughter. I don’t want nobody else to put food on the table for her. I want to be the one to put food on the table for her. It just hits different when you have a daughter. You just have more to fight for.”