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Saturday, January 25, 2014
Top 2015 LB Sutton recovering from injury

By Gerry Hamilton

SWANSEA, S.C. -– ESPN Junior 300 linebacker Johnathon Sutton (Swansea, S.C./Swansea High) is one of the top juniors in South Carolina.

The talent level of the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Sutton can truly be felt now. After going down with a torn ACL and MCL in the third game of the season, some prospects might have seen offers disappear or phone calls from schools not returned.

That is not the case, however, for the athletic and powerful prospect as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Florida State are just some of the programs who have sent coaches to visit him this month.

Sutton, No. 192 in the ESPN Junior 300, has an impressive offer list that includes a number of programs from the SEC and ACC.

“I have offers from basically everybody in the South," he said.

While Sutton doesn't have a favorite college team, his mom certainly does.

“I just loved football. When I was in the third grade, I knew football was going to be a big part of my life," he said. "I like to watch Oregon because of the uniforms. [I watched] Florida State because my mom is a big Florida State fan, and the tradition they have. I watched Georgia because they had a good running game. Alabama and Auburn too because of the rivalry they got, and LSU too."

A busy rehab schedule, however, might keep Sutton from attending junior days.

“I’ve been invited to Clemson, North Carolina State and Auburn," Sutton said. "They are all in the next couple of weeks. I don’t think I’ll go because I’m really focused on my therapy and getting back on the field."

The standout linebacker and running back is focused on keeping in touch with coaching staffs while he works to get back on the field, but he does acknowledge there is one campus he hopes to visit soon.

“I want to get down to Auburn. I think they have a nice campus," Sutton said. "I’ve already been to Florida State. I went there right before school started. My mom wanted to go on vacation, so we went by there.”

What will be key factors for Sutton as he fully dives into the recruiting process? Education and a feel for which program wants him the most, he says.

“First is education. My mind comes first," Sutton said. "Second is how much do programs really want me. What do they have in store for me?"

Sutton had a productive junior season before going down with the knee injury. At first, he didn’t know the extent of the injury and he re-entered the game.

"I thought I had a dislocated knee at first because my kneecap just popped back into place," he said. "I planted on my left leg and was cutting back right, and I went down. I limped to the sidelines. I told the trainer to tape me up so I could get back out on the field. I didn’t think it was that serious. Then I went out the next series on defense and tried to break on the ball and knew something wasn’t right."

Sutton said he hopes to return in some capacity for spring practice. He camped at Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina State and Florida State last summer.