Can Suh win the Heisman Trophy?
Ndamukong Suh has become the best player in all of college football. The man can do things that no other can. At times, he looks like Superman swatting flies. Don’t pencil him in as the #1 overall pick; put it in permanent marker and laminate it. If the NFL team that has the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft passes up on Suh, it's just because they think their future franchise quarterback is looking them in the face.
The man is simply incredible. Not a mammoth man like a Terrance Cody, Suh packs a lot of power and natural strength into his 6’ 4” 305 pound frame and, frankly, college lineman are just no match for the force that is Ndamukong Suh. Possessing a fantastic burst and quickness of the snap, Suh is in your backfield before you’ve gotten up in the morning. He regularly beats lineman to the corner on traps and pulls, nullifying the play before it’s really even started.
And just to mix things up, he simply moves you where he wants to go and tosses you aside with sheer beastly strength. His bull rush is better than that of many NFL linemen.
He is now a finalist for the Lombardi, Outland, Nagurski and Bednarik awards.
· Recorded season-high nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFL and 2 PBU in Big 12 North clinching win over Kansas State last Saturday
· Earned Lott Trophy Impact Player of the Week for the third time this season—first time in history of award a player has won the award three times in one season
· Leads team with 65 total tackles, 15 TFL, 10 PBU and 20 QB hurries, while adding 6.5 sacks
· In position to become first defensive lineman in school history to lead Nebraska in tackles in consecutive seasons
· Only defensive lineman in the country to rank in the top 100 in pass breakups (Suh is 31st)
· Behind Suh, Nebraska ranks third nationally in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense and eighth in total defense
· Nebraska defense leads country in passing TDs allowed (4) and opponent red-zone trips (18)
An elite athlete, Suh has multiple pass rush moves and can spin either way to get free. His hand punch is like a sledgehammer on concrete, keeping blockers away from his body and allowing him to easily disengage to make tackles. His 5.5 TFL and 3 sacks don’t tell the whole story but Suh opens things up for the rest of the Husker defense, regularly drawing double-teams and pushing the action towards fellow defenders. He is a presence that needs to be accounted for on every snap.
He is generally quite instinctive and reads plays quickly. He makes linebacker type plays in the box, on the edges and at the sidelines and will hustle down the line and chase the ball all over. Even when fooled, he has the quickness to get back into the action. His athletic ability also lends him to shifting over at times to the edge and would make a prototype 3-4 end as well.
There is very little to nitpick about Suh. His technique doesn’t always match his physical gifts but that can be corrected with a little bit more attention to detail. Injuries derailed the start of his college career, a torn meniscus suffered in high school forced him to take a medical redshirt after two games in 2005 and knee surgery in spring of 2007 hampered him that year. He will wear down at times but that could be due to his all-out effort and hustle more than poor conditioning.
Suh played only two games as a freshman but was a key backup during the 2006 season, playing in 14 games and totaling 19 tackles, 8 TFL and 3.5 sacks. The knee surgery hampered him as a sophomore in 2007 as he totaled only 34 tackles, 6 TFL and 1 sack. The light turned on for Suh in 2008 as the DT led the Huskers in tackles with 76, the first Nebraska lineman to do so since 1973, notched 19 TFL and posted 7.5 sacks. Displaying the elite athleticism that has scouts (and people like me) drooling, Suh snared two INT and returned both for TD, one of which clinched a dramatic victory over Colorado in season-finale. His 5.4 tackles/game led the Big 12 lineman by nearly a tackle and a half. Suh also gets used on short yardage plays and caught a 2-yard TD against Kansas.
A case can always be made for a quarterback to go #1 overall. Maybe Sam Bradford or Jake Locker and, potentially, safety Eric Berry. While all are worthy, Suh is the most dominating presence in all of college football and his abilities on the field are second to none. He is a difference maker that can instantly transform a defense. He needed to continue to improve and dominate again this year and he has delivered.