The 2013 College Football season is officially under way, and while predictions and preseason awards give way to actual news that matters — like games for instance — since Arizona State doesn’t kick off its campaign until Sept. 5, writer Ted Miller delivered Sun Devil fans with one more present to take into fall.
Miller heads up ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog and has been ranking the conference’s top 25 players over the past month. Not surprisingly, he put Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton at No. 2 on the list.
Sutton, who was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, had 63 tackles, 13 sacks, 23.5 tackles for a loss and three fumbles forced during his junior season.
While the NFL came calling this past offseason, the Corona native decided to come back to ASU for his senior season and count Miller among those who can’t wait to see what he can to top his dominant performance in 2012.
Making the case for Sutton: You’d probably have to go all the way back to Washington State’s Rien Long (2002) to find a Pac-12/10 interior defensive lineman who put up numbers as good as Sutton did in 2012. The consensus All-American, Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year and Morris Trophy winner was perhaps the most disruptive defensive tackle in the nation. His 1.92 tackles for loss ranked second nationally, and he was third nationally with 1.08 sacks per game — tied with a guy named Jadeveon Clowney, who plays defensive end/outside linebacker for South Carolina. His sacks and tackles for a loss accounted for 232 total lost yards. Twelve of his sacks were solo jobs — matched only by UCLA’s Anthony Barr. Twenty-two of his tackles for a loss were solo — matched by no one. He concluded the season by being named defensive MVP of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl with 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. And then he shocked many by opting to return for his senior season. The word most used to describe Sutton in 2012 was “unblockable.” It will be interesting to see if he can be even more so this fall.