Matt Visinsky

Wide receiver Courtland Sutton returning to SMU for redshirt junior season

SMU will have one of its biggest playmakers back in the fold for the 2016-17 season as Courtland Sutton announced he will return to SMU for his redshirt junior season.

SMU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Courtland Sutton announced on Wednesday that he will return to school for his fourth season on the Hilltop.

The former freshman All-American said that after talking things over with family, coaches and friends, it was the right move for him.

"We feel like there's a lot of unfinished business and take care of business with my teammates," Sutton said. "There were a lot more pros to coming back. For me, I get to graduate in December and come back and play with my teammates. You don't get that brotherhood at the NFL level. I really enjoy my coaches and teammates."

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Sutton is a huge piece for coach Chad Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock in the team's spread offense, usually drawing double-coverage and pass interference penalties.

The 6-4, 215-pound Brenham, Texas product was a first-team All-AAC selection after amassing 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns on 76 catches.

Rising redshirt sophomore Ben Hicks and transfers Rafe Peavy and D.J. Gillins will compete for the starting quarterback job starting this spring. Sutton's return to the Mustangs gives the group a huge, reliable target to go to.

During the NFL Draft review process, Sutton received anywhere from first to third round grades, sources told Pony Stampede. Returning for another season gives Sutton a chance to refine his route running and make a jump up draft boards.

"I'm committed to being the best receiver in college football next year," Sutton said at his press conference. "I don’t expect anything less than for us to be competing for a conference championship and playing in a really big bowl."

Last year, with the basketball team low on numbers, Sutton also played on the SMU hoops team, but this time, he's focused solely on football and will not play for Tim Jankovich's squad.

Sutton currently ranks ninth in school history with 2,135 receiving yards and sixth in SMU annals with 19 receiving touchdowns. He holds both the freshman and sophomore single-season receiving yards record.

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