Tag Archives | Ndamukong Suh

Who is this Year’s Suh?

Ndamukong Suh’s late-breaking run at the Heisman last year had a lot of people thinking that the time was nigh for a defensive player to finally win the trophy.

As it turns out, Suh’s presence in the race merely ended up costing Colt McCoy the award, as the Nebraska tackle took first place in the Southwest Region, keeping McCoy from gathering a ton of votes that would’ve normally gone his way.

Suh’s impressive stab at the trophy probably couldn’t have happened in the context of almost any other Heisman race, however.  As it was, he finished fourth in a year when the eventual winner was a true sophomore from a program that had never won a Heisman.  And Mark Ingram won in the closest race ever, squeaking by a relatively unheralded (before the season) running back from an 8-4 school best known for its nerd production.

I’m not really convinced that Suh’s finish is a positive harbinger for future defenders.  I think his impact was more important in that it showed how media tools like Twitter and Facebook could influence a new generation of Heisman voters.  I don’t think Suh would’ve gotten nearly the support he did without the online firestorm that was created on his behalf following the Big 12 title game.

Nevertheless, should a situation arise in 2010 where a defensive player can influence the race, who out there would be the most likely candidate to do so?  It’s got to be someone who has that Suh-like presence on the field, someone who is active and can take over a game with big plays.  I don’t quite see a Suh on the horizon, but here are my best bets to come close (in no particular order):

Sam Acho, DE, Texas–Talk about active.  Acho fits that bill, as he had 10 sacks last year, 14 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.  He’ll be the face of the Texas defense this year and that means he’ll get lots of attention.

Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA–He’s a human highlight reel at outside linebacker.  Last year he had 75 tackles, six sacks, 14 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, two recovered fumbles and four forced fumbles.  Oh, and he scored three touchdowns, two off of picks and one on a returned fumble.

Tyler Sash, S, Iowa–Sash is all over the field for Iowa.  He had 85 tackles, 5.5 for loss, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and six interceptions which he returned for 203 yards, including a score.

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU–The top corner in the country had 52 tackles, 13 pass breakups, grabbed two interceptions (one returned for a score), recovered a fumble and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.

Von Miller, Texas A&M–The epitome of a disruptor, he led the nation with 16.5 sacks, had 48 overall tackles, five pass breakups and four forced fumbles.  If he pulls off another huge sack year despite all the added attention he’ll get from offenses, look out.

Plays like this could ultimately get Heisman voters’ attention

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Heisman Eve with Ndamukong Suh

We also had a chance to sit down with Ndamukong Suh today as well.  We’ll have more tomorrow morning on Toby Gerhart:

suh presser 3

On his performance against Texas

“I did alright for maybe 3/4 of the time.  But that last play, if I had held back for a second and a half, we would’ve won.  I’m all about winning.  That’s all that matters.

“I had no clue about the clock.  I was trying to get after him and maybe cause a fumble or do something crazy.

On being named a Heisman finalist

“I was very surprised.  I thought a lot of the votes were in already.  It was sort of a rude awakening, but I guess a lot of voters waited until the very end to choose. 

On lineman being Heisman finalists

“It a rare thing and I’m proud to be in this position to represent linemen going against these other guys.  We don’t get a lot of publicity, but we do our fair share and a little bit more. If I were to win, that’d be a great honor to represent those guys, to be that person to do it.

On his relationship with Colt McCoy

“Colt initiated and came and sat next to me last night at the ESPN awards.  We talked a little football and got to know each other on a personal level.  I just kind of talked to him about making sure we get that national championship back to the Big 12.

On perhaps costing McCoy the Heisman 

“I won’t take pride in it.  We wanted to go out and win the game.  One way or another, we wanted to destroy his hopes.  But, this award is about an individual who is perceived as the best in college football.  And he beat us and got to the national championship.

“He’s a great quarterback.  He can run and pass.  We mainly wanted to get in his face and have him running for his life.  We wanted him to be uncomfortable back there.  If he’s comfortable, he’ll sit back and pick you apart.  We got after him, got nine sacks and quite a few hurries.  For the most part, we did our job.

On his last-second shenanigans  against Texas

“I went up to the Texas huddle and told them not to be scared, trying to get in the kicker’s head.  Obviously it didn’t phase him.  I was trying to do everything and anything to win that game.

On who he thinks will win the Heismam

“I would assume the running backs are the favorites, considering they played such great games the last two games.  Especially Toby in my eyes.  He got, what, 200-plus yards in that game and scored the winning touchdown?  I had a chance to watch that game.  It was an amazing game by him.

On what Heisman voters should look at when it comes to linemen

“A guy that definitely has an impact and makes people around him better.  That’s a huge piece of being a lineman, especially on the defensive line.  You have to make people better around you.  Those are the two elements.  You have to make plays and you have to know how to play with who is around you. 

“I don’t think stats always tell the story.  They do help.  Because you have to make big plays when you need it. 

On Toby Gerhart

“He’s one hell of a running back.  I wish I had the opportunity to play against him.  In my opinion, him and Mark are the front runners.

On who would win a head-on collision between himself and Gerhart

“I have to say myself.  I’m a pretty good tackler and a pretty tough guy.  But he’d be hard to bring down.”

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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll–Final Call!

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The final HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll of the season is in and Alabama running back Mark Ingram is the leader following his 113-yard rushing performance against No. 1 Florida in the SEC title game.

Ingram grabbed four first-place votes and totaled 46 points to retake the top spot back from Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.

“I moved Ingram to the top of my ballot around mid-season, and nothing has made me change my mind,” said one voter. “What he did Saturday against a quality Florida defense was my final validation.”

The vote by the weekly panel of 13 Heisman voters was hardly a slam dunk for the sophomore running back, however, and the race appears to be very muddled going into Saturday’s Heisman ceremony.  Stanford’s Toby Gerhart (43 points, 2 first-place votes), Texas’ McCoy (36 points, 1 first-place vote) and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (36 points, 4 first-place votes) all garnered significant support.  A total of six different players received first-place votes, tying the poll’s season high.

Voter commentary reflected the split:

“It’s long past time Heisman voters abandon their traditional, restrictive criteria and award the “most outstanding player,” regardless of position. Suh was hands down the most dominant player in the country on either side of the ball, and his performance in the Big 12 title game firmly solidified his stature. ”

“C.J. Spiller may be more exciting and Toby Gerhart more punishing, but no running back has been more effective against a tougher schedule than Ingram.”

“Golden Tate is as outstanding as he is underrated. Why he isn’t getting more Heisman love is beyond me.  He should not be penalized because his team stunk.”

“Toby Gerhart was consistently excellent this season. He never had a bad game. Stanford’s four losses or his lack of playing on the final weekend should not be held against him.”

Since ultimately you can’t take a cash advance to buy more votes, some sort of history is sure to be made on Saturday.  Ingram could become Alabama’s first Heisman winner or runner up, while McCoy could become the first Heisman runner up to come back and win the award since Herschel Walker did it in 1982.  Meanwhile, Gerhart would be the first non-USC winner from the Pac-10 since 1970 and Suh would be the first pure defensive player to win.

About the Poll
 
The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for five players each week. Tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on.  Last year’s final Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote, including the winner.

Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.

Chris Huston of HeismanPundit.com coordinates and also votes in the poll.

The Final HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 12/7/09
Total points, with first place votes in parantheses

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–46 (4)

2. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford–43 (2)

3. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–36 (1)

    Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–36 (4)

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–11 (1)

6. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–7

    C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson–7

8. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–5 (1)

9. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon–2

10. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–1

     Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon–1

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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 10/27

HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 10/27
Total Points with first place votes in parantheses

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–56 (9)

2. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame–26 (1)

3. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–25

4. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–23 (1)

5. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–15 (1)

6. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–10 (1)

Case Keenum, QB, Houston–10

8. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State–8

Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–8

10. Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee–4

Others receiving votes: Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia–3; C.J Spiller, RB, Clemson–2; Ryan Williams, RB, Va. Tech–2; Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State–1; Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh–1; Matt Barkley, QB, USC–1

About the Poll
 
The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for five players each week. Tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on.  Last year’s final Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote, including the winner.

Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News. 

Chris Huston of HeismanPundit.com coordinates and also votes in the poll.
 
HP’s Thoughts
 
Mark Ingram has taken a commanding lead in the race and he should stay there for at least another week as Alabama uses a bye in preparation for LSU on Nov. 7.    It appears Tim Tebow’s quest for a second Heisman is in major jeopardy unless he can turn things around soon.  In the meantime, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen have gained ground and one of them should emerge as the quarterback alternative to Ingram.  October has been a rough month for most of the Heisman field and, as a result, it looks like this race could go down to the wire.
 
Heisman Game of the Week
 
No. 3 Texas at No. 13 Oklahoma State–Preseason favorite McCoy had a strong outing against Missouri last week and might be back on track after a rather erratic first half of the season.  The Cowboys are the last ranked team on the Texas schedule, so it’s vital that McCoy play well–Heisman voters will be watching.   It’s also a golden opportunity for McCoy to whittle away at Ingram’s lead while ‘Bama is on that bye week.

Player to Watch

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–It’s been 18 seasons since a defensive tackle finished among the top five in the Heisman vote.  That player was Steve Emtman of Washington.  Suh has a chance to join him in that elite group if he keeps playing like he has been.  Suh is amazingly active for an interior player, leading the Cornhuskers (or tying for the lead) in 10 defensive categories, including tackles (44), tackles for loss (10), sacks (4), pass breakups (7), interceptions (1) and blocked field goals (2).

This Week in Heisman History
 
Unbeaten Ole Miss held a 3-0 lead over unbeaten LSU five minutes into the fourth quarter on Halloween night, 1959.  A Jake Gibbs punt was fielded at the LSU 11-yard line by Tiger halfback Billy Cannon, who proceeded to wiggle his way through numerous tacklers en route to a miraculous 89-yard return for a touchdown.  The score turned out to be the difference in LSU’s classic 7-3 victory and it clinched Cannon’s eventual Heisman triumph.

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