Chaz Sutton is the perfect counter punch to Jenkins' other super athlete, Franklin Green. When defenses try to shut down Green on offense, Sutton is there to take up the slack. On defense, they both come off the edge to rush the quarterback. Just try blocking both of them.
This kind of athleticism was noticed by the college recruiters and like his pal, Green, Sutton has given a verbal commitment to play at the University of Florida. But, the commitment was not supposed to become public just yet. "Really it was supposed to be a silent commitment where I committed to Florida with nobody knowing and go visit the other schools (who were recruiting him)," says Sutton.
But, the secret got out. "I had told coach "Z" (Robert Zoller) our defensive coordinator at Jenkins and he was very excited and took it upon himself to tell everybody," says Sutton. "It got out real fast and started a few phone calls asking if I had committed to Florida and yes, I had."
For a few days, it was still unofficial until Head Coach Urban Meyer and his staff got back from a cruise with his assistant coaches. But Meyer quickly accepted the two verbal commitments, "He said welcome to the Gator Family, you'll enjoy your four years at the University of Florida," said Sutton.
Going away to school with his long-time friend was one of the factors that helped Sutton make the decision. "I was going to commit to Virginia Tech," said Sutton. "He (Green) didn't have an offer from Virginia Tech and I was going to commit to them because they pitched the fact that I could play early, as a true freshman. I thought about it. But with the history of Coach Mattison (Florida defensive line coach) putting the best of the best in the (National Football) League, they play on Sunday. I was thinking I can be one of those guys. I can go to Florida and get the same thing I was going to get at Virginia Tech. so, I committed the Florida and two days later I called Franklin up and said I committed to Florida. He was real happy and said, I'm going, too. We're real close. We've been knowing each other since elementary (school)."
Coach Tim Adams feels Sutton will do well on the collegiate level. "Chaz is a real big guy who runs extremely well," says Adams. "That's a combination that is rare and helped him become a good recruit for colleges with the combination on his size and speed. Defensively, we had to move him around the last few years because we didn't have much depth. Hopefully we're going to have him where we want him this year and where he should be playing."
The two buddies have some unfinished business to complete at Jenkins. Last season, the Warriors compiled a 5-5 record, the best in recent memory for the Warriors. "It was great, but I thought it could have been better," says Sutton. "We were scrambling for the playoffs. We had the team to do it but it was mental mistakes that cost us a lot of games and not being prepared for the right situation."
Sutton plays both running back and tight end on offense, but it is his defense that caught the eyes of the recruiters. He loves to make an impression coming off the edge. He says that's his favorite thing to do, "I would say sacking the quarterback from defensive end. You chase down the quarterback and make him beg for mercy."
On offense, Sutton is just learning how to run with the football. It's not something he was used to doing. "Before last year, he really didn't carry the ball a whole lot so he's learning how to carry the ball," says Adams. "By the end of last year, he was fairly comfortable with it. Early on, it was a new thing for him."
Having to share the ball with Green on offense poses no problem for Sutton. "No, that doesn't bother me at all," says Sutton. "This is a team effort, it's not one individual. We have these shirts, Big Team, Little Me, it's team first and me second."
Sutton says the team is very close on and off the field. After going through last season, losing three games by 7 points or less, the team is ready to reach its potential. "It should help us get better as a team as a whole," said Sutton. "Bring us together more and I hope we'll be one big family and make our way through the season, one game at a time. Hopefully, good things will come out of it and we'll make it all the way to the dome."
Sutton plans to do his part to see that happens, "I have to stay dedicated, put in hard work day in and day out, be a leader, help motivate my team and put them on my back and carry them."
Reported by: Rick Snow, firstname.lastname@example.org