KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — What makes Cam Sutton so good?
While Josh Dobbs, Jalen Hurd, Alvin Kamara and Derek Barnett garner much of the attention in the Volunteer State, Tennessee’s senior defensive back quietly is rewriting the record books in Knoxville.
A man of few words, Sutton — a team captain who has started all 38 games in his collegiate career — takes a lunch-pail mentality to the football field every day.
“I just compete,” he said, bluntly.
The 5-foot-11, 186-pound lockdown corner scored as many touchdowns (2) as he allowed in 2015, leading the nation in yards per punt return.
This year, Sutton was named to more than four preseason watch lists and needs 4 passes defended to break former Vols cornerback Jabari Greer’s record of 35. A film rat, Sutton ranks second in Vols history with 16 PBUs in a season, also holding Tennessee’s all-time mark for punt return yardage in a season (467 yards) and average yardage in a career (16.0 ypr).
What makes Sutton so reliable?
Is it work ethic? His technique or football IQ? What about his quiet leadership?
During Tennessee’s annual Media Day last Friday, SEC Country asked several of Sutton’s teammates those questions.
Here’s what they had to say:
- “He has good instincts and a great work ethic, but everybody knows that. I think his mindset is top (notch). When he steps on the field, he knows he’s good and he knows he’s great. He’s confident but not cocky.” — junior defensive end Derek Barnett
- “He’s a leader. He leads by example. He’ll tell you when you’re wrong. Cam is Cam. There’s only one Cam on this team, and when he’s gone we’ll definitely miss him.” — sophomore cornerback Micah Abernathy
- “He’s really just a grinder. You can put any situation out there, throw it at him, sudden change, and he’s on it. He never complains. You’ll never see him put his head down. He’s just ready to go at any time. He’s so good on the ball. He comes up with interceptions that other people drop. He’s just a big playmaker. I’m happy I’ve been able to play with him and let him be like my big brother and show me the way.” — junior cornerback Emmanuel Moseley
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com