A mild-mannered monster named, Ndamukong

A calm demeanor can often be deceiving when you are evaluating football players. That one that off the field you might suspect as being a little "soft", once on the field, you'd find Tigers in the wild less aggressive. It's not so much a switch that a player can turn on and off. It's just the attitude you need to play the game. Enter, Ndamukong Suh, one of the best defensive tackles in the country - a definite wolf in sheep's clothing.

To talk to Ndamukong Suh, you get the sense of a very considerate young man, even a mild-mannered young man. Heck, you might even dare to call him soft-spoken.

Even as he talks about the game, rather than use words like "nasty" and "mean", he opts for "aggressive" and "intense". No matter the terminology, however, Suh would agree that there is one thing that can't be denied once you step onto the field and get down in the trenches.

It's you or them.

"If you don't knock them down, they'll knock you down." Ndamukong said. "And it takes more than being strong. You have to be aggressive."

Aggressive? Yes. Relentless? Of course, but Suh said that what you do at the end of a play often means more than the fight while the play was going on. "If you get to the person with the ball, you have to hit him. I don't mean tackle him because you always have to do that, but you really need to hit the guy, because it just feels better when you can finish off a play."

At 6'5" and 280 pounds, there's going to be few (if any) that would argue of the ability of one Ndamukong Suh to "hit" and to finish off a play. And even if Suh is mild in his tones, he'll be the first to say that the chance to finish someone off is the height of his enjoyment on the field. "If I am on defense, I get to hit a lot obviously, but on offense, I get to pull a lot to." he said. "You pull around and you get a good run going so you want to be able to hit someone on the way."

"You really aren't doing your job if you don't hit someone and I don't like running all that way for nothing."

Because of Suh's versatility on either side, he's being recruited for both the offensive and defensive line. And, to add to that, he's being recruited on the defensive side at both the interior and rush end positions.

Again though, Suh doesn't have a preference as when he's looking at colleges, he's got a couple other things in mind before he even looks at the field of play. "Academics is first for me." Ndamukong said. "My dad is an engineer and I think I might want to do that or go into a business major. I'm not sure, but when I am looking at these schools, I am looking at the school first."

After that, then comes the football teams and for right now, there's two programs that seem to stand above the rest. The Huskers of Nebraska and the ‘Canes of Miami have stepped out into the lead for this Oregon standout. Suh said though that, that could change at any point. "I would say they are my favorites right now." he said. "But, it's not like a final list or anything. I have a long ways to go before that."

How long will be determined by when Suh does take his five allowed official visits. And, how his schedule looks during his season will probably dictate that. If it works out, Suh stated that he would opt to take them during the year, but is more than willing to wait afterwards, because his goal for a team state title is paramount for his final year at Grant high school in Portland, Oregon.

Looking at 10 total offers right now, it would seem that in comparison to some, Suh hasn't even touched his potential on or off the field. Still though, Suh sits as a top 15 defensive tackle in the country. If he can reach his goal of 20 sacks this year from the nose tackle position, you can bet that ranking will go up.

Honestly though, the only thing Suh wants to go up during the season are the cleats of the quarterbacks he'll be facing all year. 20 times or more at his hands would be nice. "That's the best feeling on either side of the ball." Suh stated. "You get free, he doesn't see you coming and you get a blind-side hit and he just goes to the ground like he got hit by a truck. That's better than anything."

Perhaps Ndamukong isn't so mild-mannered after all.

Ndamukong Suh Air Attack video

Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-730-5619

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