Portland's Heisman candidate

  • Posted on: 7 December 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

When was the last time a graduate of one of Portland's high schools was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I am thrilled that Grant High School alumnus Ndamukong Suh is one of five contenders for college football's highest individual honor, the 2009 Heisman Trophy to be announced December 12 and awarded December 14.

From the University of Nebraska web site:

Suh was a two-way star at Grant High School, where he earned Parade All-America honors and was voted the 2004 Portland Interscholastic League Defensive Player of the Year and the state Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior, Suh had 65 tackles, including 10 sacks and recovered four fumbles. He also starred on the offensive line for Coach William Griffin, helping the Generals to a 9-3 record and a berth in the state quarterfinals. Suh earned first-team all-league honors on both offense and defense, and in addition to his defensive accolades was a first-team all-state pick on offense by at least one media outlet. Suh also earned first-team All-PIL honors on both offense and defense as a junior and was an honorable-mention all-state pick as a junior.

Suh was listed as the top prospect in the state of Oregon by Rivals.com and among the top 10 defensive tackle prospects in the country. Suh played in the U.S. Army All-American Game, where he lined up on the offensive line. Suh also played basketball and was a track standout for Grant High. He earned honorable-mention all-league honors in basketball as a junior and senior.

In track he was the district shot put champion in 2004, and won the OSAA Class 4A shot put title in 2005 with a school-record throw of 61-4. For his all-around athletic accomplishments, Suh was a finalist for the Portland Tribune’s Athlete of the Year. Suh chose Nebraska over California, and also visited Miami, Oregon State and Mississippi State.

Suh’s mother, Bernadette, is from Jamaica, while his father, Michael, hails from Cameroon. In the Ngema tribe in Cameroon, Ndamukong means “House of Spears.” Suh was born on Jan. 6, 1987, and he will earn his degree in construction management this December. Ndamukong was named to the 2009 Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll. He has volunteered with Nebraska’s local hospital visits and also recently volunteered his time as a speaker at Pound Middle School.

He sounds like yet another fine athletic graduate of Portland Public Schools we can all be proud of. I am not sure who I will be rooting for in the Holiday Bowl on December 30, when the Cornhuskers play Arizona. I usually cheer for the PAC-10 team, and I want to be a gracious winner after the Ducks squeaked/quacked past the Wildcats in overtime. But still, a Portland Public Schools superstar is someone to applaud.