Suggs wins Lombardi Award

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2002

HOUSTON (AP) -- Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs, who set an NCAA record with 22 sacks this season, won the Lombardi Award on Wednesday night as the nation's top collegiate lineman.

Suggs, a junior, beat out three other finalists: defensive end Cory Redding of Texas, linebacker E. J. Henderson of Maryland and defensive tackle Tommie Harris of Oklahoma.

''The sacks kind of snuck up on me,'' Suggs said. ''One minute it was seven and the next it was 10 and at the end of the season it was 22,'' Suggs said. ''I was shocked myself.''

Suggs is a junior who has not decided if he will skip his senior season for a shot at the pros.

''Every team in the NFL is looking for pass rushers and he's the best,'' Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said.

''Terrell is a great pure pass rusher,'' he said. ''He's got tremendous speed and he's relentless and we play in a league that throws the ball a lot, so he's a tremendous player. He never stops."

''He was a high school tailback converted to defensive end so he's a skill player playing a lineman position.''

Suggs has 42 career sacks in three seasons at Arizona State. His record this season broke the old mark of 17 set last season by Lombardi Award finalist Dwight Freeney of Syracuse.

''Terrell gets double- and triple-teamed so much that how he ricochets off two or three guys and still gets to the quarterback and Terrell is a very selfless player,'' Koetter said. ''He gives a lot of credit to his teammates and does a lot for our football team.''

Suggs had a season-high 4 1/2 sacks against Washington on Oct. 26. He had 12 tackles in that game and 6 1/2 tackles for losses totaling 44 yards.

Suggs had a four-sack performance against North Carolina and three sacks in two other games. He has 12 career multisack games.

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