He hopped off the bus and began the march to his first of many assignments.
Wearing a black Arizona State golf shirt, his trademark dreads flowing halfway down his back and flashing a smile fit for the bright lights of Sony Studios where Pac-12 Football Media Day was held. He politely waved to the herds of reporters who gathered just outside Los Angeles for the one-day overload of cliches and rhetoric.
A maroon and gold monster on the field last season for the Sun Devils, Will Sutton was mostly a ghost off it. As quick to opposing backfields as he was avoiding the media.
“I like to be low-key,” he told Pros2Preps.com in a recent in-depth, sit-down interview. ” I was always good at doing interviews and ready to embrace it. But there’s times where it’s like, oh gosh, can I just go relax and maybe next week we’ll go do it.”
Some may say the first-team All-American is misunderstood.
But in the instantaneous social media, your-news-is-our-news the road less traveled isn’t such a bad thing.
Two states east #2 is making more headlines than throws at Texas A&M’s fall practice. It started Monday under a bevy of photographers and talking heads looking to get a sound bite, or possibly a slip-of-the-tongue confession, from the most polarizing figure in the rich history of college football.
While Johnny Manziel was getting kicked out of University of Texas frat parties, engaging in senseless twitter battles with college football reporters or setting up autograph se$$ions with his personal assistant, Sutton spent his summer in the weight room bulking up to 300 pounds. Focusing his attention on winning a championship on the field and getting his degree off it.
To compare the visibility of the two players isn’t fair but how many times are we going to hear Johnny Football say, “I’m just a 20 year-old kid” and hold sympathy towards someone who’s brought most of the mess upon himself?
Todd Graham touted Sutton as the best defensive player he’s ever coached while Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is staring at the ceiling each night wondering what PR nightmares will greet him in the morning, much less who will be under center when the Aggies open their season against Rice.
My parents taught me to take responsibilities for my actions and most importantly, be held accountable.
Manziel’s situation is even more polluted because he was born with a silver spoon. His parents, like many wealthy Texas families, have oil money.
Johnny Football likes the attention.
He craves it.
But watch what you wish for because people are watching…with iPhones, flip cams, twit pics and information which hits the social media super highway faster than Manziel’s black Mercedes-Benz out of College Station.
To many of us in the media Sutton is like the big fish set free in open waters. A stark contrast to the fishbowl the reigning Heisman Trophy winner now calls home.
Sutton is like many college kids. He likes hanging out with friends and playing video games but dig a little deeper and you’ll realize he’s got a plan. Even after his playing days end.
“I want to become a fireman,” he explained to Pros2Preps.com. “And create a foundation that helps at-risk kids in at-risk areas where they don’t have a chance to make it to college. Educate them [that] everybody can go to college…what it takes in high school to get to that next level.”
For now, the next level is a one-way ticket to the NFL following his senior season in Tempe. Some scouts believe he’s too small to play in the trenches, much like they said about Warren Sapp who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend.
Short in stature and short on words is just fine with Sutton.
You just hope, for his sake, somewhere Manziel is listening.