With the re-emergence of the San Francisco 49ers as an apparent force in the NFC West, the strength of the squad has clearly been their stellar defensive unit. While Patrick Willis is clearly the leader and star of the defense, rookie defensive end Aldon Smith out of Missouri has been a disruptive force for Jim Harbaugh's 49ers.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News points out that Smith could reach a franchise record:
Smith, the No. 7 choice, has (updated) 6.5 sacks, and could make a run at Charles Haley, who posted 12 as a 49ers rookie in 1986. Haley and Dana Stubblefield (10.5 in 1993) remain the only 49ers rookies to rack up double-digit sack totals since the statistic became official in 1982.
Those are big names for the 49ers and Smith is already working to put his name right next to them.
Aldon also had a chance to talk a bit about the Missouri Tigers recently, as he was interviewed by KBNR and asked about playing with fellow Mizzou alum Justin Smith the Tigers' future chances in the SEC:
Q: What do you think about Missouri maybe going to the SEC?
A: That would be crazy. Everything has gotten shaken up with everyone switching around. They can (win) wherever they go.
Q: Ricky Jean Francois, your teammate (who played at LSU), was talking about if Andrew Luck played in the SEC, it would not happen. He's thinking Missouri wouldn't fare well in the SEC either. Have you talked to him about that?
A: We have had our conversations about the SEC versus the Big 12, but we played an SEC team and we beat them when I was at Missouri so I am not listening to Ricky on that.
Q: How nice is it to have one of your alma mater's greatest players as one of your teammates right now in Justin Smith?
A: It's tremendous, a great player beside me and it's even better that he went to Missouri and we have that connection.
For more commentary on the Missouri Tigers, be sure to check out SB Nation blog Rock M Nation