Suder makes his way back west

Bookend tackles are sought every year by D-1 programs and one of the top JC players at the tackle position this year is Arizona Western's Joe Suder (6-6, 330). He's fully healed from an ankle injury suffered in the fourth game last year and he's ready to show teams that he'll be able to live up to his preseason hype. He spoke with about his injury and his journey to the desert.

"I signed with Duke out of high school," Suder, who attended Bishop Manogue in Nevada, recalled recently. "My mom passed away during my senior year of high school and he big wish was that I go to a top academic school to play and to get a top education.

"I talked to my dad about it and told him that I would give it a try for a year and see how I liked it and I just didn't like it out there.

"All that stuff that was out there about me being dismissed by coach (Ted) Roof and stuff like that was total B.S. He knew from the beginning that I wanted to think about stuff and I took the summer to do that and when I told him, the next day he announced I was dismissed just so he could save face. I left on my own accord and I'm glad I did."

Suder turned down offers from Washington, Stanford, Arizona State, Nevada and UNLV to become a Blue Devil, but when he arrived on the east coast he realized he just didn't fit in.

"I didn't know anyone out there and I just never felt comfortable," Suder said. "I did it for my mom and I think she'd understand why I left because she only wanted me to be happy."

After searching around for a JC program to get himself another chance at a D-1 scholarship, Suder decided on Arizona Western because of the location and the coaching staff.

"The staff here is good and they get a lot of talent," Suder said. "I could also go here for free (he earned a scholarship) so that was another big thing – the cost."

Suder had a frustrating first season for the Matadors in 2006 however. He suffered a badly sprained left ankle early in the season and has been hard at work rehabbing the joint since mid October.

"Yeah last year was frustrating," Suder said. "I started up through the fourth game and then I hurt my ankle pretty bad. I had to sit out a couple of games and I rehabbed it hard trying to get back.

"I went out in the seventh game and I re-aggravated it and just couldn't do anything to help us. I came off and told the coaches that I didn't want to come out, but I had to think about what damage I could do to it and I still wanted to play this year and didn't want to hurt it anymore so they held me out of the rest of the season."

Suder has been running long-distance this summer as he prepares for his season and he said the ankle is back to 100-percent.

"They did MRI's on it and doctors have looked at it and they said it's in good shape," Suder said. "I had a great spring and after the spring game, I told the coaches that, for the first time in my playing career, I'm healthy and my body feels great and ready for football.

"The reason I'm working so hard on my conditioning is because I want to be a finisher. You know – a player that is as strong in the fourth quarter as I am in the first quarter. If I'm done by the start of the second half, what good am I to my team?"

Suder also claims a 375 pound bench press, a 500 pound squat and a 250 pound power clean and he claims to be in the best shape of his life.

On the recruiting front, Suder already has two offers – New Mexico State and UNLV and he's been receiving letters from several programs.

"The letters come in all the time," Suder said. "Every player gets those so, I'm not sure how much those schools actually want me.

"I would love to hear more from Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, Washington, Washington State and really any of the Pac 10 schools actually. I want to stay out west if I can because I really didn't like the east coast and my fiance's family lives out here and so does my dad and the rest of my family. It's just the best fit for me.

"I want to take some visits and see what's out there and get a feel for the schools that are recruiting me. I've been through this before so I can be patient and see what comes up."

Because Suder was a full-qualifier out of high school, he can leave at any time and he plans to enroll in January at whichever school he ends up at with two years to play two when he arrives on campus.

We'll have more from Suder after the start of the season.

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