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Former Mizzou star Aldon Smith close to NFL sack record

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A standout during his time with Missouri, former defensive lineman Aldon Smith could set an all-time record for NFL sacks in 2012.

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

One of the most impressive defensive players to ever play at Missouri, former Tigers defensive end Aldon Smith is now on the verge of making history with the NFL's all-time sack record well within reach.

With three games remaining the 2012 regular season, the 23-year-old Smith has already tallied an NFL-best 19.5 sacks, a number that puts him just 3.5 away from breaking Michael Strahan's record of 22.5. Led by a 5.5-sack performance in Week 11 against Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, Smith has now reeled off at least one sack in his last seven games.

Whether he goes on to break the NFL record or not, Smith's immediate rise to stardom comes as little shock to Missouri fans, who watched him relentlessly chase down quarterbacks from 2009-2011. In addition to holding his new franchise's all-time rookie sack record of 14, Smith's productive 2012 campaign already makes him the most prolific single-season sack producer in San Francisco 49ers history. Considering that no player in NFL history has ever recorded more sacks over a two-year span, it's scary to imagine just how good Smith can become after he gets a few more years of experience under his belt.