Upon first glance, Will Sutton's press conference on Tuesday looked quite foreboding for those who were hoping that the All-Ameircan defensive tackle would stay at Arizona State.
Half of Dutson Theater was filled with Sutton's teammates ready to say goodbye and his parents were right by his side as he prepared to announce the biggest decision of his young career. Even when he started to speak, his opening comments about this "tough decision" foreshadowed heartache for the maroon and gold faithful who so desperately had been begging him for one more year.
But despite all the dramatics, Sutton left Sun Devils everywhere with a distinctly different feeling: pure elation.
Yes, it's true; ASU's most dominant defender since that guy who invented Ball So Hard University is returning for his senior season.
Why forfeit a multi-million dollar NFL pay day you might ask? How about to help "lead this team to a Pac-12 Championship, a Rose Bowl Championship and a National Championship."
Sounds like an awful lot of fun when he puts it like that, right?
If you didn't gain bundles of respect for Sutton after this decision then go ahead and relocate to Tucson immediately. Plain and simple, this is a textbook example of sacrificing oneself for the greater good.
No, I'm not calling Sutton the second coming; I just strongly believe that this will do wonders for an already budding Arizona State football program.
Brock Osweiler's early departure last season sent all the wrong signals to ASU's fans, opponents and potential recruits. Osweiler's actions, while not selfish by any means, indicated that he felt Arizona State was anything but the epitome of consistency and that he'd rather cash in on one good year than stick around to build something great.
Now, only one year later, a gentlemen who just had about the best statistical season an interior defensive lineman can have is deciding to stick around because he's captivated by the direction this team is heading. How's that for a turnaround?
With Sutton in tow, the Arizona State Sun Devils very likely could enter the 2012 season as the favorites in the Pac-12 South. And considering that their defense was already a force to be reckoned with last season, one has to assume that they'll still be mighty intimidating with another offseason of fine-tuning under their belts.
More importantly than anything though, Sutton's decision sends a clear message to the rest of the conference that this is a team whose high aspirations are in reach. I mean come on gang, Sutton is smart man. If he didn't truly have certitude that those goals he shared were attainable, do you think he'd give up the opportunity to be a top-60 draft pick?
With that in mind, it's time the rest of us follow in Sutton's faithful footsteps and pour our confidence into this ASU football program. I mean, it's the least we could do considering he's sacrificing fame and fortune to help us smell the roses again.