On Saturday, Reggie Sutton returned to the field during Rutgers’ spring game.
The sight of big No. 70 along the offensive line brought smiles to the faces of head coach Greg Schiano, teammates, and fans for multiple reasons.
“I can’t tell you how optimistic I am because it’s about how he responds each and every time,” Schiano said. “I think he played about 20 plays today. There was a lot of people that thought this would never happen.”
In 2020, Sutton was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by coaches and became one of the best pieces along a shaky offensive line for the Scarlet Knights. Last season, Sutton suffered a knee injury that has kept him out of action over the last year — and threatened his career.
Not only does Sutton want to return to the field, he wants to return to All-Conference form.
Sutton often spent 12-hour days in the athletic facilities in Piscataway performing physical therapy, consulting with doctors, and studying film.
“Just for his own psyche and the ability to work as hard as he did and then to go out and play in a game, that to me is really cool,” Schiano said. “The amount of sacrifice he’s made to get back to playing is off the charts.”
The offensive line remained a shaky unit for the Scarlet Knights last season. With a young quarterback stepping into the starting role, whether it be Gavin Wimsatt or Evan Simon, Rutgers will need to make sure to protect them and run the ball effectively. If Sutton is able to return to the field, it would continue to bolster the unit.
“As a team, it really would help us,” Schiano said. “I’ve said before that when he went down, he was our best lineman. He was a legitimate Big Ten guard. If he gets back to close to what he was, that’s going to help our team but right now, I’m just happy for him.”