Ndamukong Suh was born on January 6th, 1987 to a Jamaican mother, Bernadette, and a Cameroonian father, Michael. In the Ngema tribe in Cameroon, Ndamukong means “House of Spears.” At Grant High School in Portland, Suh was a two-way star on the football team, earning Parade Magazine All-American honors and Portland Interscholastic League Defensive Player of the Year. Considered among the nation’s best defensive tackle prospects, he chose to attend the University of Nebraska to study Engineering. During his junior year at Nebraska, he was the first Nebraska defensive lineman to lead the team in tackles since 1973. In 2009, his senior year, he registered 82 tackles, 12 sacks and helped lead the Cornhuskers to the top ranking scoring defense in the nation, yielding only 10.4 points per game.
In the 2010 NFL draft, he was selected second overall by the Detroit Lions. His rare combination of strength, agility and speed made him an instant force in the NFL. He was selected Rookie of the Year and named to the NFL’s All-Pro team. Suh was also voted a Pro-Bowl starter, which was the first time for a rookie defensive player in NFL history. In 2011 he helped lead the Detroit Lions to their first playoff appearance since 1999. Following the 2012 season, he was named to the NFL’s All-Pro team, and represented the NFC in the Pro Bowl for his second time in three seasons.
Suh balanced time as a student-athlete and philanthropist, volunteering his time speaking to youth at local schools, and hours spent visiting with patients of Omaha Children’s Hospital. Upon his graduation, Suh donated $2.6 million to the University of Nebraska, including $600,000 towards an endowed engineering scholarship, with the first recipient announced in May 2013. In addition to making an impact on the field, Suh has made his presence felt in the local community, including partnering with the Detroit Medical Center where he donates toys for each DMC Children’s Hospital patient during the holiday season and serves as coaches for their annual wheelchair basketball fundraiser.
Ndamukong’s unwavering commitment to education is shown through donation of backpacks filled with a year of school supplies for students of Detroit, Nebraska, and Portland who agree to give their best. His support of health wellness and nutrition exhibited through a summer football and life skills camp in Detroit, the only of its kind and promoted in his partnerships with companies Subway and Nike among others. His international outreach knows no bounds, adopting a school in Bamenda Cameroon, Africa, and assisting educational development in Jamaica, through his foundation, The Ndamukong Suh Family Foundation.
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year (2010)
NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year (2010)
NFL Rookie of the Year (2010)
Sporting News Rookie of the Year (2010)
Pro Football Weekly Rookie of the Year (2010)
PFWA Rookie of the Year (2010)
4x Pro Bowl (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)
4x First-team All-Pro (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014)
Second-team All-Pro (2012)
Sporting News First-team All Pro (2011)
America’s Most Charitable Athlete (2010)
Outland Trophy (2009)
Lombardi Award (2009)
Bronco Nagurski Trophy (2009)
Chuck Badnarik Award (2009)
Bill Willis Trophy (2009)
AP Player of the Year (2009)
Unanimous All-American (2009)