Wide receiver Corey Sutton of Appalachian State is opting out of the 2020 college football season.
Sutton, who caught seven touchdown passes last season, announced the decision Tuesday on Twitter.
"After thinking and battling thoughts about this decision, I feel that it is in my best interest to opt out of the 2020 season," Sutton's post said. "I look forward to taking my game to another level this offseason and return to the field in 2021."
In other App State news, athletics director Doug Gillin announced late Tuesday that the school will begin its fall sports season -- including football -- without fans at home events. Impacted are the Apps' home opener Sept. 12 against UNC Charlotte and a Sept. 26 game against Campbell.
"We know this is disappointing news," Gillin said in a release. ""Our games game and matches will not be the same with the App faithful."
Sutton thanked his teammates, coaches and fans, saying "it was an honor to play for and represent Appalachian State."
But that message, according to App State coach Shawn Clark, didn't shut the door on the potential for Sutton to return to Boone.
"He told me in my office that he'd be back at Appalachian State in '21," Clark said. "I told him I loved him, he said he loved me, and we'd see you in '21."
Clark said he and Sutton talked over the past couple of weeks. Clark said that even if Sutton were to play, he wouldn't have been ready for the season opener against Charlotte. Sutton tore an ACL against Texas State last season.
Now, Clark said, Sutton has more time to rehab and get healthy.
Sutton spent his first college football season at Kansas State in 2016, then transferred to App State before the 2017 season, which he sat out due to NCAA transfer rules.
But when he was eligible to play with App State, he immediately made an impact. Sutton had 10 touchdown receptions in 2018, becoming the first App State wide receiver with double-digit TD catches since Brian Quick in the 2011 season.
Last year, playing only nine games, he nearly matched his 2018 reception total (41 receptions to 44 previously) under then-head coach Eli Drinkwitz. He had eight catches and 173 yards and three touchdowns at Georgia State the week before the knee injury.
Sutton's father, Clarence, was a safety at App State from 1993 to 1995. His younger brother, Coen, will join the program next season as a 2021 wide receiver recruit.
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