ASU junior defensive tackle Will Sutton left the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to fans chanting, “One more year.”
He delivered what the fans wanted Tuesday. One more year.
Sutton announced he will return to ASU for his senior season. He became the first Consensus All-American for ASU since Terrell Suggs in 2002. Sutton had 13 sacks in 12 games this season. His 1.08 sacks a game average was third best in the country. Sutton was second in the country with 23.5 tackles for loss. Both his sacks and tackles for loss totals rank fourth on ASU”s single-season list.
“It was a lot of pros and cons, but it wasn’t just one thing, but some of the main things is coming back and winning a championship, do it for my teammates and get an education,” Sutton said.
Sutton said he didn’t make his decision until the day of his announcement. He only told his parents, and they sat to his right on the table. Coach Todd Graham also sat next to Sutton, but he did not know Sutton’s decision until he announced it.
“I didn’t like being in front of everyone hearing it, but I’m glad it came out the way it did,” Graham said.
Sutton said he didn’t want his decision leaked before the announcement. He said he was projected to go in the third or fourth round of the NFL Draft, which also played a role in his return.
“It was a factor on why I came back, but some people were just watching film,” Sutton said. “They weren’t really looking based on my character or what I could do at the combine. I just took it upon myself and said I might as well come back.
“If I have another monster year, I couldn’t see why not I couldn’t be a first-rounder. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
When asked how he could get better, Sutton simply replied, “Get more wins.” Graham felt Sutton’s decision spoke volume about his commitment to the team. He thinks Sutton still has room for improvement with another year in ASU’s defensive scheme.
“We’ve got some great players around him,” Graham said. “The fact that he believes we can be Pac-12 Champions next year and win every game we’re in. … He asked me how much better he can get, I think he can get a whole lot better. You can do that by the way that we work and the things that we do.”
Sutton sought advice from players like Omar Bolden, who also stuck around for his senior season at ASU. Sutton’s father, Mickey, also played defensive back in the NFL and gave his son all the resources he needed to make a decision.
“It basically came down to his decision because he’s the one that’s going to be here or he’s going to be one that goes,” Mickey said.
Sutton’s teammates’ showed up to his announcement and left pretty excited about the news. He made other players better last season and should have the same impact on defense again next year.
“That opens up everything,” junior defensive tackle Davon Coleman said. “I think next year they’re going to put a scheme around him and hopefully helps everybody out.”
Sutton’s roommate, redshirt junior linebacker Anthony Jones, didn’t want to hassle him about the decision. Jones said they talked a few times when Sutton wanted to discuss the situation. Jones felt Sutton remained calm throughout the process.
“He never talks about it, and the only time he talks about it is when his phone is blowing up,” Jones said. “He didn’t like that. He’s not that kind of guy.”
Sutton’s return could make ASU the favorites in the Pac-12 South with UCLA and USC.
“We’re going to do some great things,” Sutton said. “You’ll just have to wait until the season gets back.”
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