Michigan is bringing in yet another highly-touted freshman class next season, which has been sort of business as usual for years now but especially more heightened since Jim Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor in December of 2014.
Among the more lauded prospects from the Class of 2018 for Michigan is 4-star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson out of Divine Child High School (Dearborn, MI). The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Hutchinson was a nightmare for opposing teams on both sides of the ball this past season. He committed to Michigan way back in February to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Father Chris Hutchinson was an All-American defensive lineman for Michigan from 1989-92.
The younger Hutchinson recently talked about why he ultimately decided to pledge to the maize and blue, discussing the road to get there, in a special piece done by himself in The Free Press. He said it all began when he was a sophomore and was preparing to attend “Junior Days” at Central Michigan.
“I was a tiny fish in a small pond, and I felt like just another face in the crowd of over 100 kids. I could see players getting special attention, and I was not one of them. Not to be discouraged, I attended several camps. The reviews were mixed, at best, and one prominent evaluator said I “underwhelmed” him. I could see then how blunt the recruiting process was and knew I had to be mentally strong and focused.”
Hutchinson also talks about how he has always had a special connection with current Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who coached his dad Chris back in 1992; Chris’ final season at U-M and Mattison’s first of five seasons in Ann Arbor then. Aidan said Mattison was the only coach who “saw his potential early on” and “never wavered in his belief” of Aidan.
Fast forward to his first scholarship offer in March of 2016, courtesy of LSU. That’s when schools really began to line up for Hutchinson, including Michigan. Though being with the Wolverines was always the dream, he felt entitled to give every school an opportunity.
“While Michigan was my top choice, I promised myself I would give every school that recruited me a fair shot.
And, so, the unofficial visits began. I visited Michigan several times. I also visited Ohio State, MSU and Wisconsin that year. I liked Wisconsin’s program, although I was unsure of how my skill set and body type would fit into its defensive scheme. OSU rolled out the red carpet but something just didn’t feel right. MSU had a surprising genuine appeal, but I just couldn’t visualize myself there. It was amazing to see my parents, both UM grads, open to exploring every program with me.”
Hutchinson said when it boiled down to it, Michigan was the easy choice. He says it had to do with the “high standards and values” his parents shared with him, standards and values that were reflective of the university. Aidan added that when it comes to striving for excellence, Michigan is “unparalleled.”
“It’s the best of both worlds for sports and academics, and I simply can’t imagine being anywhere else. I can’t imagine wearing any other helmet. I can’t imagine not playing for the all-time great coaches: Coach Jim Harbaugh, Coach Don Brown, and Coach Mattison.”
Hutchinson is tabbed a top-3 player in the state of Michigan and top-10 strong-side defensive end prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Ironically, Aidan’s Divine Child teammate, quarterback Theo Day, is pledged to play at Michigan State in 2018, which could set up for some interesting meetings down the road. Day committed to MSU just days after Hutchinson committed to U-M.
No official word on whether or not Aidan will be formally signing his national letter of intent over the next three days, as part of the new early signing period for high school athletes, but it widely expected that most if not all 18 of Michigan’s hard commits will sign.