Special teams has been the deciding factor in a few of Eastern Michigan's football games this season. Whether it be the game winning field goal by Chad Ryland against Illinois, the punt by Jake Julien to run the clock out against Western Michigan or many other instances throughout the season, Eastern Michigan has shown moments of greatness on the special teams side of the ball.
None of these plays would have been possible without the spectacular play and leadership of senior long snapper and specialist, Drake Sutton. Sutton spoke very highly of the Eastern Michigan program not only for its on field performance, but also the character development and culture that has been created under head coach Chris Creighton.
"EMU gave me the opportunity to really grow as a person. I've gone through my highest high and my lowest low. It made me grow as a man," Sutton said. "Every day Eastern Michigan has been a family to me. I can go to anyone on the team if I need something and I know they would help me in a heartbeat."
Being the long snapper is a very specialized position in football. Sutton was very passionate in his story of how he found his talent at the position, "Originally I was a quarterback, but my dad was a center and middle linebacker. Since he was a center in his day, he did the long snapping duties for his college and at his high school. Basically in fifth grade, we needed a long snapper. So, I gave it a try and was decent at it. I did it here and there throughout junior leagues and did it in high school because I never wanted to leave the field."
"My coaches didn't want me to because being a quarterback, you're one of the more important assets to the team. My sophomore season, I decided to switch to outside back and h-back, and then grew my long snapping talent, to be the best I could be for the team. I went to a few camps and figured out I was halfway decent at it and rolled with it from there, and then somehow I ended up at a division one university."
With four games left in the season, Sutton shared his thoughts on what needs to be done to finish the season strong, "Moving into the last four games, its basically just taking one game at a time. We can't get too far ahead because then you lose sight of what is in the moment. But we want to win every game. We don't want to go out like some other teams, where we have the potential to do well but we never reach our full potential."
"All of us are kind of looking at it as an opportunity to do something that we haven't done in a while, which is win a bowl game, as well as have the best record that this team has had in a while at 8-4, if we win all of our games hopefully. The way to do that is to take it one week at a time and one game at a time. So, this week we are focusing on Buffalo and how we can give ourselves the best opportunity to win this game."