For the second consecutive year, the award named after Pat Tillman will be right where it belongs in Tempe. On Monday afternoon, it was announced that Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton has earned the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award one year after winning it for the first time.
According to Sun Devil Athletics, Sutton is just the second two-time defensive player of the year award winner in Pac-12 history. Washington defensive tackle Steve Emtman is the only other player who has accomplished the feat.
In 12 games this season, Sutton has 42 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception, three passes deflected and one fumble recovered. And those stats hardly tell Sutton's tale.
Despite criticized for gaining "bad weight," early on, Arizona State's star senior has been a hurricane of disruption all season long. And if there was a statistic for putting your teammates in a position to succeed, Sutton would be near the top of the list nationally.
Fellow defensive linemen Davon Coleman and Gannon Conway are both in the midst of career seasons thanks largely in part to the force that is Will Sutton. Likewise, Salamo Fiso, Carl Bradford and the rest of the Sun Devil front-seven surely would tell you they wouldn't be able to cause the damage they do without Sutton's overpowering presence paving the way.
Sutton took home the same honors last season after registering 10.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. This is the sixth time an Arizona State player has won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award. Before Sutton's two, linebacker Dale Robinson won in 2005. The rest goes as follows: linebacker Terrell Suggs (2002), linebacker Adam Archuleta (2000) and, of course, Mr. Tillman himself (1997).
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