Arizona State’s Will Sutton did it again: The senior defensive lineman won the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
“It’s crazy,” Sutton said Monday. “Coach Graham called me last night, and I thought I was in trouble. I thought, ‘Should I answer or not.’ Then I finally answered. And when he told me, I sounded like a kid on Christmas. My voice got all high-pitched and I got all excited.
“I didn’t think I’d get the Defensive Player of the Year award again, because my numbers are down and everything. I thought, ‘Oh well.’ But we are winning, so it didn’t matter to me. Winning it is crazy.”
The senior had three sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss on the season. He was the key anchor of a defense that led the conference in turnovers, was third in total defense and second in sacks.
Sutton is the second player to win the conference defensive player of the year twice in his career. The other was Washington’s defensive tackle Steve Emtman.
“We’re very thrilled to keep the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year right here at Arizona State,” head coach Todd Graham said. “That’s one of our main goals every year. That’s one that bears the name of a great Sun Devil. We want that to be a trophy won by one of our players each year.
“Obviously, you know the emphasis we put on defense. That’s the foundation of our program. Everything we’re going to do with a defensive mentality. So, I’m very proud of Will. I think Will will tell you that’s a great reflection of our defense.”
Sutton wasn’t the only Sun Devil taking home conference hardware Monday. Graham was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, and six players (Chris Coyle, Evan Finkenberg, Sutton, Alden Darby, Robert Nelson and Zane Gonzalez) made the All-Pac-12 First Team.