The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY JOHN BORTON Not too many seventh graders call their shot as precisely as Aidan Hutchinson. If he puts the bull's eye on opposing quarterbacks like he did his future, look out. At that tender age, he wrote one line on a scrap of computer paper. He taped it to the wall of his bedroom, where he received a daily reminder of the goal. It simply read: "I will play football at the University of Michigan." Many dream the dream. Not many possess the wherewithal to make it happen. At 6-6 and 258 pounds, with a non-stop motor, the son of former Michigan captain and All-American Chris Hutchinson (1988-92) stands as a towering exception. He claims an additional half-inch of height from the official Michigan listing. He absolutely remembers standing tall the day he penned his destiny. "I remember it very vividly," Hutchinson said. "I've always had t h i s d r e a m o f p l a y i n g M i c h i - gan football. I've grown up going to all the games and one day I told myself, I'm going to play football at this university. "Mom told me to write all my goals down. When I wrote that down, I put it right on my wall. I saw it every time I went to bed. I told myself I was going to be playing here. Now we're here." The newest Michigan defensive end laughingly admitted the jour- ney to Ann Arbor wasn't an inalter- able done deal from the second pen hit paper. Given the sort of talent that would eventually produce 27 tackles for loss among 65 tackles his senior season at Dearborn (Mich.) Di- vine Child High School, Hutchinson earned options. So despite a pair of former Wolver- ines as parents, and two sisters pres- ently attending Michigan, he took the pledge down during recruiting. "We actually lost the piece of pa- per," he noted. "We've been trying to find it. When we took it down, I don't know where I put it." He never lost sight of Michigan, despite a challenge from Wisconsin and others. "Wisconsin was right behind Mich- igan, but truthfully, I don't think it was very close," Hutchinson said. "Comparing Michigan to Wisconsin was a pretty long stretch, just be- cause of all my history at Michigan, my dad playing there, the fact that it's 20 minutes from my house. They didn't compare." His dad played it straight during the recruiting process, the younger Hutchinson noted, even taking his son into enemy territory. "He really laid off me in this whole recruiting process," Hutchinson noted. "What Michigan dad takes their son on a visit to Ohio State and Michigan State? Just by doing that, I could tell he put this in my hands. "He wanted this to be my decision. He didn't want to influence my de- cision because of what he wants for me." There's a reason for that, noted Dr. Chris Hutchinson, a n e m e r g e n c y room physician at nearby Beaumont Hospital. "I really tried to let him see what else is out there," the elder Hutchison acknowledged. "We live 20 minutes from campus, his two older sisters go there, his whole room has been decorated with Michigan stuff since he's been a kid. I wanted him to be prepared. "Maybe he didn't fit into the Mich- igan scheme. You see your kid, and he's a sophomore and still has some maturing to do. You want him to have every opportunity to make the decision that is right for him. "Playing college football and going to school is hard enough. To be in a place because your dad wants you there? That's really hard." Everything Has Gone According To Plan For Aidan Hutchinson STATISTICS Year Tkl. TFL Sacks FF FR 2017 65 27 4 1 1 2016 68 — 11 3 2 2015 51 3 1 2 0 HONORS • Selected to the 2017 Dream Team (all divisions) by The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press and MLive Detroit. • Named to the 2017 and 2016 Michi- gan Associated Press Division 3-4 All- State first team. • Was a second-team All-State pick on the defensive line by USA Today as a junior and earned first-team honors at tight end as a senior. • Checked in at No. 2 on The Detroit News' Blue Chip Recruits list, a post- season ranking of the state's top col- lege football prospects. • Also an academic all-state honoree in 2017. • Played in the U.S. Army All-Amer- ican Bowl and was one of the defen- sive stars, finishing with four tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. RECRUITMENT • Chose Michigan in February 2017 over Wisconsin and Notre Dame, among many others. • Recruited by defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who coached Hutchin- son's father, Chris, during his final year of college. AIDAN HUTCHINSON DEFENSIVE END 6-6 • 258 DIVINE CHILD HIGH SCHOOL DEARBORN, MICH. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 129 8^ 2 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 88 5^ 1 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 193 22# 1 ^ Ranked as a strongside defensive end; # ranked as a defensive end 2018 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE 2018 Projection Hutchinson will immediately dive into the defensive line fray, and can learn from a very good one. He's pro- jected to play the anchor position, the spot occupied by rising junior Rashan Gary. He'll have a chance to earn snaps in a rotation, especially as a player who gives great effort when rushing the passer and can put pressure on quarterbacks. Hutchinson, pictured with head coach Jim Harbaugh, has had the goal of playing for the University of Michigan, like his father, since he was in the seventh grade. PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS HUTCHINSON MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 29

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