Michael Sutton of the ECI Bulldogs is an explosive runner on a team that is no stranger to breeding elite running backs, But every once in a while, you find one that surprises even them.
“One of my goals was 2,000 yards, 20 touchdowns,” said Sutton. “I had betted a couple people that I could do it.”
Safe to say Sutton won that bet. He exceeded his goal by 43 rushing yards and crossed the goal line 25 times this season for the bulldogs in just 11 games.
“What was your final rushing yards?” Sutton replied: “I don't know.” The answer is 2,043 rushing yards which makes him 7th in the state in any classification in Georgia. “What does that mean to you?” Sutton said, “It's ok. I really wanted to win the state championship. After a while I just forgot about the yards when we got to the playoffs. I just wanted to win a state championship.”
ECI fell short of a trip to the Dome this year, but Sutton knows the privilege of playing in the Bulldogs backfield is an honor in itself when you are walking in the footsteps of guys like Washaun Ealey. “I was just glad to be running the football, period, because at ECI you got to be the best of the best to run the football. And I work out with Washaun a lot. Me and him stay after school and run the ball.”
Sutton can run a sub 4.6 40, but it's his strength and ability to pound the football for those necessary yards that makes him a defenders nightmare, “I like for people to try and tackle me so they can get tired. I can hit them and see how they look, see that they are tired and don't want to tackle me no more.”
“I hate to see him go to be honest with ya,” said head coach Chris Kearson. “Last year he was a little bit banged up but he was a 1,200 yard rusher in about seven games so we knew if we could keep him healthy we had something on our hands.”
In the single-A classification he ranked second in Georgia for rushing yards, but who's keeping track? “He's not a stat guy,” said Kearson. “He wasn't concerned with his stats. They just kept piling up.”
Several schools have Sutton on their radar including the likes of Charleston Southern and Cumberland. But first he's the WTOC Offensive Player of the Year.