KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Cam Sutton was rusty.
But even a step-slow Sutton is better than most any cornerback on Tennessee’s roster.
The senior All-American made his audacious return from a broken ankle Saturday against Kentucky, playing nearly every snap in a wild 49-36 win.
Sutton, who has now started all 42 games of his collegiate career, recorded a pair of pass breakups on third down against the Wildcats to set the all-time record at Tennessee.
“It was great having Cam back on the field,” coach Butch Jones said.
“Obviously, not playing (for eight weeks), Cam has to do some things staying in coverage and eye discipline. But his break and drive on the football. He had some PBUs. Just getting back into the flow of the game.”
Two months ago, most assumed Sutton’s career as a Vols was over. The senior broke his ankle on Sept. 17 against Ohio, and underwent surgery a short-time later. Despite a real NFL future ahead, Sutton rehabbed aggressively to wear the Orange and White again. He had “unfinished business” to handle.
Initially, Jones thought Sutton would return this Saturday against Missouri for Senior Day, but the cornerback was healthy enough to knock out the kinks before a big matchup against the Tigers explosive aerial attack.
While he struggled at times against UK, he offers an immediate upgrade for a secondary that’s had issues defending long passes all season.
“He’ll be a better version of Cam Sutton this week just because of the amount of playing time he had Saturday.”
Sutton will be one of 11 scholarship seniors honored Saturday, but his focus is solely on Mizzou’s trio of dynamic receivers, headlined by J’Mon Moore.
The junior ranks second in the SEC in touchdowns (8) and third in yards (743).
“There were a couple of times he needs to be better and more involved in the run game,” said defensive coordinator Bob Shoop on Sutton’s return.
“But he did have two pass breakups. It was great to have him out there. We’re 1-0 with him back in the lineup. He has a real challenge ahead of him this week against Missouri.”