Players that have the versatility to contribute in a variety of ways are the lifeblood of any football program. That description perfectly describes senior running back Joe Suhey, which makes him a valuable commodity for the Nittany Lions on both offense and special teams. A vital weapon in the passing attack, totaling 36 combined receptions the last two seasons in addition to his physical blocking skills, Suhey possesses soft hands and displays deceptive shiftiness after a catch. A tough runner with good speed and instincts, he can grind out a first down in a short-yardage situation and also pave the way for one of his backfield mates with his solid blocking skills. The athletic and intelligent Suhey also is a core special teams player, willing and able to lay a block to spring a returner, return a kick or make a tackle. Suhey earned Academic All-Big Ten honors last fall and graduated in May, finishing with a cumulative grade-point average above 3.00. He compiled a 3.40 GPA during the 2011 spring semester. The field-savvy Suhey comes from a family that is as synonymous to Penn State football as the Paterno namesake. He is a fourth-generation Nittany Lion hailing from arguably the first family of Penn State football. His father, Matt, was a standout running back at Penn State from 1976-79 before starting a highly-successful career with the Chicago Bears. His great-grandfather, Bob Higgins, was Penn State's second All-American, garnering honors in 1915 and '19 and served as head coach from 1930-48. Joe's grandfather, Steve Suhey, was a letterman at guard in 1942 and again in 1946-47, earning All-America honors his senior season. That gives the Higgins-Suhey family an amazing 95 years of involvement with the Penn State program of the 125 seasons it has existed, including this season.
2010 Senior Season
Suhey made seven starts while playing in every game on offense and as one of the squad's premier special teams players. He was seventh on the team with 15 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown and had eight carries for 15 yards in addition to his outstanding blocking. Suhey started five-straight games from Alabama through Illinois. He caught two balls for 16 yards against Kent State and made three receptions for 32 yards in the primetime win over Michigan. Suhey played a significant role in the historic comeback win over Northwestern, making a career-high six receptions for 67 yards. His efforts helped Penn State erase a 21-0 deficit for a 35-21 decision and Joe Paterno's 400th career victory. Suhey also delivered a 25-yard touchdown reception during the fourth quarter comeback against No. 10 Michigan State. Suhey was on the field for 224 snaps, led by 32 against Indiana and 28 against Northwestern. He received Academic All-Big Ten honors.
2009 Junior Season
Playing in every game, with two starts, Suhey demonstrated the ability to contribute as a rusher, receiver and blocker. He was seventh on the team with 254 all-purpose yards. Suhey was fifth on the squad with 21 receptions for 186 yards and one touchdown and gained 68 rushing yards on 22 carries. He finished the regular-season with a strong performance. He made three catches for 40 yards in the win at Michigan State, including a leaping 30-yard catch-and-run down the far sideline for his first career receiving touchdown. The reception was a career-long and gave Penn State a two-touchdown lead in the eventual 42-14 victory. Suhey also gained 16 yards on just three carries against the Spartans. In his first career start, he made a career-best four catches for 40 yards in the win over Akron. He tied his high with four receptions for 32 yards in the Senior Day victory over Indiana and had a 15-yard catch in the win at Illinois. Suhey was highly effective in the 35-10 win at Michigan, gaining 18 yards on just three carries. Suhey played on 361 snaps, led by 44 in the big win over LSU in the 2010 Capital One Bowl and 32 in the victory over Syracuse.
2008 Sophomore Season
In his first season on the field, Suhey saw action in every game on offense and special teams. He proved to be an effective runner, receiver and blocker in his redshirt freshman campaign. Suhey gained 26 yards on nine carries and had two receptions for 36 yards. In his collegiate debut, against Coastal Carolina, Suhey gained 11 yards on three carries and made one catch for 17 yards. He gained 11 yards on three carries against Temple, including a season-long nine-yard run. He caught a season-long 19-yard pass in the 48-7 win at Wisconsin. Suhey was on the field for 172 snaps, led by 24 each against Coastal Carolina and Temple.
2007 Freshman Season
Redshirt season. Suhey scored a touchdown and gained 17 yards on six carries in the 2008 Blue-White game.
Suhey was a standout player at Loyola Academy. His high school coach was John Holecek, a former Buffalo Bills linebacker. As a receiver, Suhey made touchdown receptions of 25, 35 and 45 yards. He earned team MVP, all-conference and all-area honors and was honorable-mention all-state. He also was a three-year starter for the basketball team and a team captain. He played with Michael Jordan's two sons, Jeff and Marcus, at Loyola Academy.
Full name is Joseph Steven Suhey. He is the son of Matt and Donna Suhey. He has one brother, Scotty, and a sister, Allison. His father was a standout running back at Penn State from 1976-79, rushing for 2,818 yards, good for No. 10 on the school career list, and 26 touchdowns before starting a lengthy career with the NFL Chicago Bears. His mother also is a Penn State graduate. Joe's great-grandfather, Bob Higgins, was the second All-American in Penn State football history, receiving the honor in 1915 and again in 1919, and later served as head coach from 1930-48. Joe's grandfather, Steve Suhey, was a letterman at guard in 1942 and again in 1946-47, receiving All-America honors his senior season. He married one of Bob Higgins' daughters, Ginger. Three of their sons, Paul, Larry and Matt, played for Penn State in the 1970s. One of Joe's first cousins, Kevin Suhey, was a quarterback and special teams player for the Nittany Lions from 2005-07 and graduated in 2008. Joe received his degree in recreation, park and tourism management in May 2011 with a cumulative grade-point average above 3.00. He compiled a 3.40 GPA during the 2011 spring semester and is enrolled in media studies this semester. Born May 30, 1989 in Chicago, Ill.