Ndamukong Suh, the People’s [Heisman] Champ


It was announced last night that Alabama RB Mark Ingram was being awarded the Heisman Trophy. The award is used to acknowledge the college football’s best player. Ingram became the first Alabama player to win the Heisman in the closest race in history. Ingram edged out Stanford RB Toby Gerhart by 28 points. Texas QB Colt McCoy finished 3rd, while all-around Florida superman Tim Tebow and stand-out defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska finished 4th and 5th respectively.

Leading up to the award a lot of hype was building around Suh. He was the most dominating player and the nation and very deserving of the award. While he only finished in fourth place, he may have won something more significant.

Suh not only has benefited from exposure during the Heisman race, but he is also being looked at as a potential number one overall pick in next year’s draft. It is rare for a defensive lineman to make so much noise in college football, but the 6’4, 320 Nagurski award winner is a special talent.

In Nebraska’s biggest game of the year, Suh put his talent on display. He matched a career high with 12 tackles and added 4.5 sacks; 9 of those tackles were for zero of negative yards.

Suh was often double-teamed or even triple-teamed and the Texas offensive line could not slow him down. Texas head coach Mack Brown noticed Suh’s performance and said, “He was all over the place. We just couldn’t handle him. I tried to find him to wish him good luck in the NFL, because I don’t want to see him again.”

Suh and the Cornhuskers ultimately came up short when Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence hit a 46-yard field goal as time expired to win the Big XII Championship, 13-12.

Suh, who is a senior, will be headed to the NFL Draft after he finishes off his college career against Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.

What makes Suh so special is his combination of size and speed. It is rare for a player his size to display the quickness necessary to always be around the ball. You can also look at Suh’s incredible awareness as a contributor to his play-making ability.

Perhaps the most under appreciated aspect of Suh’s game is his hand work. He is able to keep offensive lineman away from his body and use his strength to push them away. Suh uses his hands better than any defensive lineman in recent draft memory.

His versatility will also allow more teams to look at him. Not only can he play defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense, but he could be a dangerous defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.

Ndamukong Suh may have not heard his name called as the Heisman winner, but he could receive the best consolation prize imaginable and that is hearing his name called first in the 2010 NFL Draft.