Suh for Heisman

In 1997, the question was asked and answered, could a defensive player really win the Heisman? Charles Woodson, a cornerback at Michigan, was easily one of the most electric players in college football and won the Heisman Trophy. Ask any Nebraska fan about the huge plays that Ndamukong Suh made last year and they will tell you that Suh needs to get some Heisman consideration. Can he win it?

Maybe the biggest travesty last year, in my mind, was Gerald McCoy being voted not only as All-Big 12, but also as the defensive player of the year. McCoy had a solid season, don't get me wrong. McCoy's individual statistics last year were 30 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Now, let's compare McCoy to Nebraska defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh. Suh had 76 total tackles last year and also had 7.5 sacks. Suh was a second team All-Big 12 selection, but why? In comparison to McCoy, Suh had as good and if not better year than McCoy did.

I can't help but think that Oklahoma's more "star-studded" lineup with players like last year's Heisman trophy winner, Sam Bradford, as well OU being Big 12 champs and playing in the BCS National Championship didn't have something to do with McCoy getting the nod over Suh.

The stage could be a lot different for OU. Don't get me wrong, undoubtedly OU will have a very good team this year. Getting into the BCS Championship game again this year is going to be a serious challenge. This might not weigh in McCoy's favor.

What might weigh in Suh's favor is that if something should improve from Bo Pelini's first year as head coach in Lincoln to this season should be the defense. Suh will have everything to do with that too.

Suh is a player that every opposing OC is going to know; going to have nightmares about. Suh, because of the position that he plays, simply put gets the match-ups that he can exploit and, more than that, literally limit opposing team's offenses especially in their zone run game.

While Suh gets his plays and makes his tackles, Suh also takes on double-teams and allows the players around him to create their own chaos. This extends not only to his fellow defensive lineman, but also to the linebackers behind him which should be an improved unit from last year to this year.

But, what we are talking about here is Suh for Heisman and the only person to really compare him to is Charles Woodson. Woodson, while he was a defensive back, can still be compared to Suh.

First of all, Woodson wasn't solely a defender and neither is Suh. In 1997, when Woodson won the Heisman, he threw one pass for 28 yards, added 11 rushing attempts for 193 yards and two scores, added 12 receptions for 238 yards and two scores and also had 36 punt returns, averaging 8.4 yards per return and scored another touchdown.

Suh last year led the team in tackles with 76, added 7.5 sacks and had 19 tackles for loss as well as two interceptions. On special teams, Suh blocked two kicks (one against Baylor and another against Missouri). In short yardage and goal line situations, Suh came in as the fullback and actually caught a touchdown pass against Kansas.

Why Suh also compares favorably to Woodson is that both players had a knack of coming up with the big play when the big play was needed. Think back to the Michigan-Ohio State game in 1997. Woodson takes back a punt return from 80+ yards as well as seals the deal on defense by intercepting a pass in the Ohio State end zone.

Last year the play that Suh will be immortalized for in Husker fans minds was the interception and return for a touchdown against Colorado late in the game that sealed up the win. More than that, Suh's other interception against San Jose State also went for a touchdown.

Suh will be a huge anchor in a much anticipated defense and defensive line for Bo and Carl Pelini next year. However, Suh isn't one of the names in college football on the defensive side of the ball that just rolls off of your tongue and that is what Suh is up against.

While Suh isn't the most talked about defensive player in the nation it's also something to mention the actual results that non-skilled position players have finished in the Heisman balloting. Since 1986 up to 1996, three defensive players were nominated: Brian Bosworth in 1986, Steve Emtman in 1991 and Marvin Jones in 1992 and each finished in 4th place.

Those three, along with Woodson who won the Heisman trophy, all shared another thing in common besides being nominated for the Heisman. Each of their respective teams either won or shared the national title as well.

Winning the national title isn't something that people are talking about with this year's team at Nebraska. Still, Nebraska will have success and it will be in large part to the extraordinary play of Ndamukong Suh starring as a defensive tackle, blocking fullback, pass receiver and kick blocker.

Now, it sounds like the cards might be stacked against Suh to win the Heisman based solely on the idea that Nebraska probably won't be a national title contender this year. But that shouldn't stop the Facebook groups, tweets on Twitter and URL registrations of on

While all of these efforts might be in vain, it won't hurt in other areas like the Outland, Lombardi and Nagurski awards. It also won't hurt in maybe earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Honors. More than ever, Suh is going to need that needed boost to get his name out into the front of the nation.

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