Nov. 26, 2012
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton has been named the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year and 14 other Sun Devils have earned all-conference honors, the Pac-12 announced Monday.
Sutton leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the FBS with 1.82 tackles for loss per game (20 total). A Bednarik Award semifinalist, he also ranks 12th in the nation (third in the Conference) with .95 sacks per game (10.5 total), and anchors a pass-rush defense that is second in the nation in both sacks (4.0) and tackles for loss per game (8.83). His constant pressure and presence in the backfield has helped ASU lead the Pac-12 in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense, allowing 178.83 passing yards per game and limiting opposing quarterbacks to a combined 105.16 passer rating.
Eleven Sun Devils earned honorable mention recognition, which trails only Stanford and USC for the most in the Pac-12. Among those honored are linebacker Carl Bradford, defensive backs Deveron Carr, Osahon Irabor and Keelan Johnson, tight end Chris Coyle, offensive lineman Evan Finkenberg, running backs DJ Foster and Marion Grice, defensive tackle Jaxon Hood, quarterback Taylor Kelly and return specialist Rashad Ross.
Tillman, who was the 1997 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time all-league honoree, played linebacker at ASU from 1994-97. An Academic All-American and three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection, Tillman graduated summa cum laude from ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business with a B.S. in marketing. His No. 42 jersey was retired at halftime of the Washington State game in 2004, and Tillman was posthumously honored with the Distinguished American Ward by the national Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Only five of ASU's 15 honorees are seniors, while six are juniors, two are sophomores and two are freshmen.