Christmas came two weeks late for the Arizona State football program on Tuesday afternoon.
To the surprise of some, consensus First Team All-American defensive tackleWill Sutton announced to the assembled media he will forego this spring’s NFL draft and return to ASU for his senior season.
The school’s most decorated defensive player since Terrell Suggs, Sutton will again anchor a unit which finished second in the Pac-12 in total defense. He led the team in tackles for loss (23.5) and sacks (13). The Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year registered at least one tackle for loss in all 12 games he played in 2012.
Even with his NFL-ready resume filled with accomplishments, ASU Senior Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Paul Randolph believes Sutton hasn’t reached his ceiling as a collegiate player.
“He is a playmaker on game day,” Randolph told Pros2Preps.com Wednesday afternoon. “But he understands he has room to improve in his fundamental technique and his strength base. He’s going to get bigger, stronger, faster within our strength program.”
With Sutton, along with defensive playmakers Devon Coleman, Carl Bradford, and others returning the pieces appear to be in place for another solid season this fall.
“With [Sutton] coming back we have the opportunity to build upon what we started this year with him leading the way,” Randolph explained to Pros2Preps.com. “With him leading the way…their mindset, their temperament. I think we can improve in every single area that we play and that we measure with him coming back…the sky is the limit for us and we may have brought it a little closer with Will staying.”
Randolph said he and several of the other assistants were in the airport after attending the National Coaches Convention in Nashville, Tennessee when they watched Sutton’s press conference on-line.
“You saw about four or five Arizona State coaches cartwheeling and back-flipping down the terminal chest-bumping and high-fiving. We were really excited about it.”