The 2009 All-American and Associated Press National Player of the Year has been named the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year, the conference office announced on Friday. Suh was chosen over a group of nominees that included the top male athlete at each of the league's 12 institutions.
"This honor means a lot to me," Suh said. "I was fortunate to win awards for my play on the football field last year, but this is different. To be selected from a group of great athletes across all sports in an elite conference like the Big 12 is special."
Suh earned the honor after one of the most dominant seasons ever by a defensive player in college football. He finished the season with 85 total tackles, including 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and 26 quarterback hurries. His play helped Nebraska lead the nation in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense, while ranking in the top 10 in total defense and rushing defense.
His play allowed Suh to compile an impressive list of honors and awards. In addition to his latest honor, Suh was a unanimous first-team All-American and was selected Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team.
In addition, Suh collected the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award and Chuck Bednarik Award. He was the first player to sweep the Nagurski and Bednarik awards since 2000; and only the second to sweep the Outland and Lombardi awards since 1996. Suh was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and the Lott Trophy and captured CBSSports.com's National Defensive Player of the Year.
"Suh had a huge impact on our football program and is certainly deserving of this award," Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini said. "The Big 12 has a high level of play in every sport, and I'm sure there were other great athletes who could have just as easily earned this honor, but I can't imagine anyone could have had a more complete and dominant season than Ndamukong."
Suh ranks second in NU school history in tackles for loss (57), including 24 in 2009. He is fourth in the school record book with 24 sacks. Suh also holds Cornhusker defensive lineman career records for pass breakups (15) and blocked kicks (6). He is the only Nebraska defensive lineman to lead the team in tackles in consecutive years. Additionally, he tied the school record with seven tackles for loss in the 2009 Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship, including 4.5 sacks. Suh was the No. 2 pick overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, selected by the Detroit Lions.
A native of Portland, Ore., Suh graduated in December 2009 with a degree in construction management from the UNL College of Engineering. He was a 2009 Big 12 Commissioner's Spring Academic Honor Roll Selection. Suh was a regular contributor to team hospital and elementary school visits and numerous outreach events associated with the Nagurski, Lombardi and Outland events. He recently donated $2.6 million to the University of Nebraska, including a $2 million gift to Athletics and a $600,000 gift to the UNL College of Engineering.
Suh is the second Cornhusker to earn the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year Award, joining defensive end Grant Wistrom who captured the honor in 1997-98. A pair of NU volleyball student-athletes have won the Female Athlete of the Year honor-Greichaly Cepero in 2000-01 and Sarah Pavan in 2006-07 and 2007-08.