All-American defensive lineman Will Sutton announced today that he will skip the 2013 NFL Draft and return for his senior season. The 6-foot-1, 270 pound junior made the announcement during a press conference on ASU’s campus and it couldn’t have made the Sun Devils coaching staff any happier than to hear him commit to another year in Tempe.
With Sutton’s return, the Sun Devils have to be considered a favorite in the Pac 12 South division. Their already strong defense will be buoyed by his return, along with seven other starters from 2012, and they will be one of the top units in the entire conference. This past season alone, Arizona State’s defense was second in the nation in sacks and tops in the country in tackles-for-loss.Sutton and fellow defensive lineman Carl Bradford will form one of the more formidable one-two punches in the entire country.
It’s an interesting move by Sutton to return for another season because it will be hard for him to perform any better than he did in 2012. He finally lived up to his immense potential and easily had the best season of his career. Sutton finished the year with 63 tackles, 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles-for-loss. His NFL Draft stock soared, despite concerns of his diminutive size as an NFL defensive tackle, and he became just the 15th player in ASU history to be named a consensus All-American.
If he did forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft he would have likely been and lock as a first round pick. His size may be a bit of a concern but it is offset by his special skill set. He’s strong, agile, athletic and tenacious and would have been a solid fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense at the next level. Cincinnati Bengals lineman Geno Atkins has been mentioned as a possible comparison for Sutton and Atkins seems to be doing pretty well for himself.
This is a huge win for Arizona State and the Pac 12. He’s one of the premier defensive lineman in the country and by returning for his senior season he immediately makes the Sun Devils a favorite in the conference.