Inside Jalen Suggs’ football career: Gonzaga hero was star QB in high school, has ties to Terrell Suggs

Jalen Suggs: Final Four hero, impending NBA draft lottery pick and … former football star?

Yes indeed. The phenomenal Bulldogs freshman is not only a terrific basketball talent, but also a former standout on the gridiron — one who saw plenty of recruiting interest as he was coming out of Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

That’s not his only connection to football, either: He’s part of a pretty accomplished pedigree as a distant relation to NFL defensive standout Terrell Suggs.

Here’s everything you need to know about Jalen Suggs’ football career, his high school stats and the attention he received as one of the most sought-after football recruits in the 2020 class:

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What sports did Jalen Suggs play in high school?

Suggs was a two-sport athlete in high school, excelling in both basketball and football. In the former, he led Minnehaha Academy to three consecutive Minnesota 2A state titles before his senior season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was a five-star recruit and the No. 11 overall player in the class of 2020 as a combo guard, per 247Sports’ Composite rankings. The site lists 22 scholarship offers he received to play basketball, including Gonzaga (obviously), Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, West Virginia and more.

But he also received plenty of attention as a two-way football star. As a 6-4, 205-pound senior for SMB — a co-op of St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake — he led the team to the 4A Minnesota state runner-up. The year prior, he helped the team win the state championship. He was ranked the No. 384 player in the 2020 class, the No. 15 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 2 player in the state of Minnesota per 247Sports’ Composite rankings.

For his athletic prowess, Suggs was named MaxPreps’ Male Athlete of the Year in May 2020. Moreover, the high school senior became the first athlete in Minnesota high school history to be named Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball in the same season.

What were Jalen Suggs’ high school stats?


Per the Baltimore Sun, the 6-5, 200-pound quarterback/defensive back passed for 2,213 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushed for 978 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. He also added nine interceptions on defense, returning two for touchdowns.

As for his junior year, MaxPreps records Suggs throwing for 1,578 yards and 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also added 604 rushing yards on 99 carries (6.1 yards per carry) and eight scores. He caught two passes for 14 yards and a score as well. Defensively, he totaled 20 tackles — one for a loss — four interceptions and six passes defensed.


According to the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.), Suggs averaged 23.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 rebounds and 3.9 steals per game as a senior, finishing with 2,945 career points.

Is Jalen Suggs related to Terrell Suggs?

Yes. Per the Sun, Jalen Suggs’ father, Larry Suggs, is second cousin to Terrell Suggs, who lived in Minnesota until he moved to Arizona in the ninth grade. Terrell Suggs played linebacker/defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens (2003-18), Arizona Cardinals (2019) and Kansas City Chiefs (2019), earning Pro Bowl selections seven times and first-team All-Pro in 2011.

He also helped Jalen Suggs’ father start the Minnesota basketball program Grassroots Sizzle. The football standout seems pretty happy to watch the Gonzaga star show out in March Madness:

What teams recruited Jalen Suggs in football?

Per 247Sports, Suggs received scholarships from the following schools:

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Iowa State
  • Michigan State
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio State

He also received some interest to play quarterback for one of the top all-time college football coaches: Alabama’s Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide coach on Friday discussed his evaluation of Suggs as a quarterback.

“Well I vaguely do recall him as a player and he was a really good player,” Saban said, via 247Sports. “He’s a really good basketball player, you know, too, so I can’t argue with anybody about the choice that he made in terms of, you know what he’s known (for the) future and how he’s trying to, you know, build a career in athletics. So he was a fine young man, he was a good leader.

“He was a very talented player, and you know I enjoy watching him play. He always liked playing guys you think you know a little bit, so I really enjoyed watching them play and those guys have a good team, no doubt.”

Here’s a sampling of Suggs’ quarterback highlights at SMB:

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