Football Writers Association of America April 23, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
972-713-6198
Outland winner Suh taken 2nd overall Bookmark and Share
THREE OUTLAND FINALISTS CHOSEN
IN FIRST ROUND OF 2010 NFL DRAFT

DALLAS (FWAA) Ndamukong Suh, the 2009 Outland Trophy winner as the nation's most outstanding interior lineman, was the second overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the 2010 NFL Draft Thursday night in New York. The selection marks the fourth straight year the Outland winner has been selected in the top six of the draft. Since 2000, the Outland winner has been a first-round selection nine times, eight of those among the top 10.

Suh, the Nebraska All-America defensive tackle from Portland, Ore., was joined by 2009 Outland finalists Russell Okung of Oklahoma State and Mike Iupati of Idaho as first-round picks. The three Outland finalists were among the draft's first 17 selections as Okung was selected sixth by the Seattle Seahawks and Iupati was taken at No. 17 by the San Francisco 49ers.

"It was amazing," Suh said shortly after hugging his parents and high-fiving his sister. "I mean, it's a moment that I can't even really speak on, just because the emotions are so high. I'm just so happy they're out there with me."

The No. 2 overall pick is the highest for a Nebraska player in the draft since Irving Fryar and Dean Steinkuhler were the first and second picks, respectively, in 1984.

"I am very happy for Ndamukong and his family," Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said. "He is very deserving of the high selection in the draft, and the Lions are fortunate to have the opportunity to add him to their organization. Everyone has seen his ability on the field, but as I've said many times, Suh's maturity and character are just as important to making him a success."

Suh
Okung
Iupati

"He's a guy that is a multi-dimensional player," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "We put a premium on that. He's good against the run. He's good against the pass. He's incredibly productive. He's incredibly consistent. He has a long track record of success. He made it an easy pick for us."

Last week, Suh announced that he will donate $2 million to Nebraska Athletics for its Strength and Conditioning Program and an additional $600,000 to the College of Engineering to endow a scholarship.

"I had a fantastic football career at Nebraska and thanks to my coaches and support staff, I have learned the value of hard work, teamwork and life skills," Suh said. "These skills will help me tremendously as I prepare for my career in the NFL."

"This donation from Ndamukong Suh is the largest single gift we have received from a former player," Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. "We appreciate Ndamukong's generosity to the athletic department, and we also appreciate his commitment to education, as he earned an engineering degree, and appreciate the type of leadership he provided for our football team this past year. He is truly a credit to the football program and the university as a whole."

Suh's $600,000 gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation will benefit students enrolled in the college of engineering, from which Suh is a graduate.

Okung, an All-America offensive tackle from Houston, is the 16th Oklahoma State player to be chosen in the first round of the draft and is the highest pick since Barry Sanders was selected by the Lions with the third pick of the 1989 draft.

"This is a dream come true for me," Okung said. "I'm blessed to be in this position and I have so many people to thank for getting me here. There has been so much attention and anticipation the last couple of weeks and I actually feel relieved. Being drafted is the first step to where I want to end up."

"We are very proud of what Russell accomplished during his career at Oklahoma State and what he will now go on to accomplish as an NFL player," Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. "He is very mature both on and off the field and he has made a great impact on our program. We're excited about what the future holds for him."

"Coming back for my senior year was a great decision because not only did I get to be part of one of the best teams ever at Oklahoma State, but I also got my degree in business administration and got to enjoy college life for another year," Okung said. "I'd make the same decision again."

Iupati, who didn't play football until he was 14, became Idaho's highest draft choice since Ray McDonald was the 13th selection in 1967. The All-America offensive guard from Anaheim, Calif., leaves Idaho as the most decorated player in school history and was part of a revitalized team that won the 2009 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl behind one of the highest-rated offenses in the country.

"I'm very excited for Mike," Idaho head coach Robb Akey said. "I'm excited for his family. I know he has a great future." Akey, in his 23rd year as a college coach, called Iupati "the best offensive lineman that has played for any team I've coached."

"I just come off the ball fast and physical, so I try to attack my opponents," said Iupati. "I can play anything. I just need the repetitions."

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, a lineman at Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. The Outland Trophy is the third oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,100 men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America team.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official Web site, ncfaa.org.

For more information on the Outland Trophy, go to the official website, www.outlandtrophy.com, or contact FWAA executive director Steve Richardson (972-713-6198 or tiger@fwaa.com).

Related links:
Official site (outlandtrophy.com) | All-time Outland winners
National College Football Awards Association (ncfaa.org)
collegepressbox.com (for logo/photo downloads)