Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton could have packed it in after suffering a fractured ankle on Sept. 17.

A projected second-round pick for next year’s NFL draft, no one would have blamed Sutton had he decided to used the rest of the season to recover and prepare for his professional career. But instead, he recognized his commitment to the team and worked hard to get back on the field as soon as he was allowed.

In fact, if he had it his way, Sutton would have played in Week 9 against Tennessee Tech, according to position coach Willie Martinez:

Sutton recorded three tackles and broke up two throws in his return against Kentucky over the weekend, passing Jabari Greer for the most passes defended in Tennessee history (36).

“What can I say about the return of Alvin Kamara and Cameron Sutton?” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said via KnoxNews.com, also referring to his running back who had missed extended time. “I think that is one of the greatest stories. And you talk about selfless individuals and putting the team first. They wanted to play and they were determined. They basically willed themselves to getting back healthy and I thought that really sparked our football team.

“These individuals could have very easily have said, ‘I am done’ and get ready for the NFL and what’s next. And instead, they wanted to be a part of this football team and help us win. And to me, that speaks volumes about their competitive character and what this football program means to them.”

With an SEC East division title still on the line, Tennessee (7-3, 3-3) will play Missouri this Saturday before finishing the regular season at Vanderbilt on Nov. 26.