When Nick Sukay fired down the field and drilled the ball from Illinois' Jack Ramsey on the opening kickoff of Penn State's Homecoming contest, the play seemed like an early momentum shift and possible turning point for the Nittany Lions. And it was -- for all the wrong reasons. Illinois pounced on the ball to limit the damage and Penn State was dealt the biggest blow. On the play, Sukay came up lame. Although he stayed in the game and made three tackles, it was later revealed that the Lions' playmaking safety had a torn pectoral muscle and would miss the remainder of the season. The loss was a big one for Penn State as the hard-hitting Sukay entered the game with 19 consecutive starts and tied for the Big Ten lead with three interceptions. The talented and instinctive Greensburg Central Catholic HS product has been a bulldog in his rehabilitation and should be 100 percent in time for preseason camp. Selected preseason third-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele's College Football Preview, Sukay has demonstrated a great work-ethic and perseverance to emerge as a significant contributor for the defense and special teams. An injury to his right foot required surgery at the beginning of the 2008 campaign, effectively ending any opportunities to gain playing time after taking a redshirt in 2007. A swift and strong athlete, Sukay tied for the team-lead last year with three interceptions after breaking up a team-high 11 passes in 2009. Sukay, who earned his degree in May, will be counted on for significant productivity and leadership in the secondary. He is among 17 returning Nittany Lions from Western Pennsylvania.
2010 Senior Season
A starter in the first six games of the season, increasing his total to 19 career starts, Sukay made 29 tackles and grabbed three interceptions. Sukay forced a fumble on the opening kickoff against Illinois, but suffered a torn pectoral muscle on the play, ending his season. Despite the injury, he made three tackles before leaving the game in the first half. He was tied for the Big Ten lead in interceptions, with three, at the time of his injury and ended the season tied for the team lead. He made eight tackles at No. 1 Alabama and four stops in the 24-0 win over Kent State. Sukay grabbed his second and third interceptions of the season in the win over Temple. He became the first Nittany Lion with two interceptions in a game since Lydell Sargeant had a pair at Wisconsin in 2008. Sukay also made six tackles (four solo), helping the Lions limit the Owls to 71 yards and no points in the second half. He made seven tackles at Iowa and grabbed his third interception in two games at the Penn State 17. Sukay saw action on 345 snaps prior to his injury, topped by 72 at Iowa.
2009 Junior Season
Sukay grabbed ahold of a starting assignment at strong safety (Hero) during the preseason and got the opening nod in every game. He logged significant playing time, seeing action on 882 snaps, the team's fourth-highest total. Sukay made 41 tackles, tied for fifth-highest on the squad, and grabbed two interceptions. He was third in the Big Ten with 13 passes defended, breaking up a team-high 11 passes, good for No. 2 in the conference. He also had one big fumble recovery and played an instrumental role for the Nittany Lions' Top 10 defense. Sukay made a career-high nine tackles against Iowa and followed with seven solo stops in the win at Illinois. He made his first career interception against the Hawkeyes and returned his second one 34 yards at Michigan State during Penn State's 28-point third-quarter outburst. Sukay also made four hits each in the wins over Syracuse, Eastern Illinois and Northwestern. In the victory at Michigan, Sukay pounced on a fumble at the Wolverines' 22-yard line. Two plays later, Daryll Clark threw a scoring strike to Graham Zug, giving Penn State a 32-10 lead in the third quarter. Sukay was all over the field in the Lions' 19-17 win over LSU in the Capital One Bowl. He broke up three passes and recovered a fumble on the final play of the game to seal the big win. Sukay was on the field for 882 snaps, led by 86 against Indiana and 84 in the win at Northwestern.
2008 Sophomore Season
Sukay was unable to play due to an injury to his right foot. The injury required surgery near the beginning of the season. Sukay did a great job in his rehabilitation and was able to return to practice late in the season.
2007 Freshman Season
Redshirt season. Sukay enrolled at Penn State in January 2007, graduating from high school one semester early.
Sukay was a standout for Coach William "Muzzy" Colosimo at Greensburg Central Catholic HS. As a junior and senior, he earned spots on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25 and all-conference teams. He was instrumental in helping the Centurions reach the 2005 and '06 Western Pennsylvania district Class AA championship game. Following his senior season, Sukay also was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 and Harrisburg Patriot-News Platinum 33 teams. As a wide receiver, he caught 36 passes for 631 yards and six touchdowns and was ranked the No. 10 wideout in the nation. Sukay grabbed two interceptions and returned a punt 69 yards to set up a touchdown in the 2006 Western Pennsylvania district Class AA championship game. During his junior season, he made 29 receptions for 660 yards and eight touchdowns, while contributing 58 tackles, six interceptions and seven forced fumbles at safety.
Full name is Nicholas Dell Sukay. He earned his degree in crime, law and justice in May 2011. Born March 9, 1989.