Will Sutton return to Arizona State

Arizona State Sun Devils defensive tackle Will Sutton, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and one of the premier defensive players in the country, will return to school next season.

Sutton, who was also awarded the Pac-12's Morris Trophy for the league's top defensive lineman, held a news conference Tuesday afternoon on campus to announce his decision. His announcement was met with a roaring applause.

"It's been a hard decision," he said. "It's been a long decision. I'm going to stay and play another year."

Sutton became the first ASU player since Terrell Suggs in 2002 to earn consensus First-Team All-America honors. His 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in 2012 both rank fourth on the school's single-season list, and he led the Pac-12 with 1.08 sacks and 1.96 TFLs per game. Sutton also added three forced fumbles and five pass breakups, despite missing one game and the majority of another due to injury.

ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr. projects Sutton as the fourth-best junior defensive tackle in the country.

He cited earning his degree -- which he could get as early as this summer -- and the desire to improve on the team's 8-5 record as motivating factors.
"A lot of relief," Sutton said. "Now I can get to work. ... It was pretty stressful. I had my teammates asking what I was going to do. Walking down the street people asked me what I was going to do."

He was named the defensive MVP of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in ASU's 62-28 win over Navy for recording 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss.

"I'm a little biased," joked ASU coach Todd Graham, who joined Sutton at the news conference. "I can tell you it was really stressful for me. Obviously, I want what's best with him. He's the best defensive lineman I've ever coached and one of the best defensive players I've ever coached.

"I'm proud of him. I told him the best thing for him was to come back. When you look at his education, his development, the easy thing to do would be to come out. He chose his team, his family and them wanting him to get his education. That's a great story."