Ndamukong Suh's High School Highlights Not What You'd Expect

STACK's Chad Zimmerman grades Ndamukong Suh's high school highlight tape. It's not what you might think.


When we heard about recently surfaced clips of Ndamukong Suh's high school football playing days, we were excited, hoping to see another "Reggie Bush"-style highlight tape of a man-child embarrassing his underwhelming competition.

A physical freak, Suh is the top-paid defensive player in the NFL. In 2009, he was AP College Football Player of the Year. He was 6-foot-4 and 278 pounds coming out of high school and was ranked the no. 1 prospect in the state of Oregon. The video clips would seem to have all the ingredients to be an epic beatdown of hapless high schoolers getting hosed by a future NFL Hall of Famer.

Watching the 21-play mash-up of Suh's highlights, we were speechless—but not for the reasons we expected. There were almost as many plays of Suh getting worked as there were of him dominating his smaller, slower, weaker competition. Thinking the negatives may have stuck out more than the positives, we graded his film. Our official tally: 9 checks, 7 pluses, 2 minuses and 3 double-minuses. And considering Suh's physical advantage, some of those double-minuses could have been triples.

The film won't leave you in awe, but it's definitely worth a watch. It's also a great teaching tool for guys still playing high school ball. Without proper technique, even Suh can be blown back five yards downfield by a guy half his size (see play 11).  Knowing where Suh is today, it's hard to believe he had such humble highlights on his reel.

Here's a breakdown of some of the worst offenders...

Play 4: Dragged 3 Yards By Running Back

Ndamukong Suh High School highlights

Given Suh's size and strength, you'd never think he could get dragged downfield by an NFL running back, let alone a high school kid. But it happened here and made it onto this highlight mash-up.

Play 11: Driven Back 5 Yards

Ndamukong Suh High School highlights

Suh is targeted at the point of attack on this QB sneak. He makes the tackle, but it's 5 yards downfield. The play could almost serve as a highlight for the O-linemen on the other side of the ball who drove the all-state Suh backward in a hurry.

Play 13: Delayed Attack

Ndamukong Suh High School highlights

In this play, Suh appears to drop back only to reverse field and sprint after the QB. Although he gives great effort to hurry the QB and chase him out of the pocket, he takes a poor angle, allowing the QB to get around him, run upfield and get off a pass. The pass appears to be intercepted, which might explain why this play was included in the highlight reel. But this was a case where young Suh showed his inexperience and gave up outside contain.

Play 18: Faked and then Beat

Ndamukong Suh High School highlights

Suh is caught looking in the backfield and is fooled by a play-action dive up the middle. When he realizes the QB still has the ball, he sprints upfield with great effort, but takes a poor angle and allows the QB to get outside. He gives chase but is unable to keep up with the QB, who rips off a big run.

Play 19: Inside Moves

Ndamukong Suh High School highlights

In what could have been a called defensive pinch, Suh crashes inside and practically sprints through the offensive tackle and the running back in a straight line to the QB. It all looks promising until the QB sidesteps Suh and takes off to the outside with loads of daylight. Suh gives chase but is unable to keep up with the QB. He eventually gets tripped by a smaller offensive player, and the QB runs for what appears to be a 20-plus-yard gain.

The above are among the worst plays from the mash-up. To be fair, there were also some dominating plays, which we of course expected. But we're still scratching our heads about why there were five pretty rough plays for Suh on his own highlights. Below is our official grading of all the plays.

Grading The Film 

Play

Grade

Notes

1

Plays too high, doesn't use hands but keeps contain and makes play

2

Plays a little high, sheds blocker well, stops RB for 1-yard gain

3

+

Good bullrush and QB pressure

4

-

Plays too tall, gets dragged 3 yards by ballcarrier

5

+

Good QB pressure, gets 1/2 sack

6

Plays too tall, falls on RB downfield

7

Doesn't use hands well to fend off chop block but keeps feet and gets QB pressure

8

+

Good bullrush and gets sack

9

Stands tall around scrum and falls on pile

10

Gets QB pressure but plays too tall

11

--

Driven back 5 yards. Unacceptable for biggest man on field

12

Rushes upfield and flushes QB from pocket. Fails to make tackle

13

-

Gets blocked at the line. Applies late pressure to QB. Fails to keep contain and QB gets ball off

14

Gets held up at line. Jumps on ballcarrier for TFL

15

+

Good swim move and QB pressure

16

+

Good bullrush and gets sack

17

+

Good swim move and gets sack

18

--

Gets fooled by play action, loses contain and QB rushes for big gain

19

--

Takes inside rush, loses contain, QB rushes for big gain. Suh falls down trailing play

20

Plays too tall, gets held at line, applies late QB pressure

21

+

Flows down line, tackles RB for no gain

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | RUNNING | SPRINT