The word "lanky" comes to mind. [Isaiah Hole/247]
Michigan added a legacy to the 2018 class this evening when four-star Dearborn (MI) Divine Child DE Aidan Hutchinson, son of All-American defensive lineman Chris Hutchinson, committed to the Wolverines over the likes of Louisville, LSU, and Michigan State.
It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine pic.twitter.com/WS4UzDddUb
— Aidan Hutchinson (@aidanhutch28) February 22, 2017
Hutchinson is Michigan's third commit in the class, joining IN OG Emil Ekiyor and GA S/OLB Otis Reese.
4*, #16 DE,
4*, 83, #11 DE,
4*, 93, #5 SDE,
4*, #9 SDE,
It's still early in the 2018 evaluation process and Hutchinson is a prospect who requires quite a bit of projecting from a physical standpoint, so it's not a big surprise to see a significant split in his rankings. ESPN and 247 both consider him a fringe top-100 prospect; Scout has him as an early four-star; Rivals considers him the #14 prospect in the state—in a down year compared to 2017, at that. Rivals' Josh Helmholdt had a positive evaluation of Hutchinson after yesterday's Best of the Midwest Combine, so we could see these rankings tighten up before long.
Hutchinson is listed anywhere between 6'4", 227 (Rivals) and 6'6", 245 (Scout). He told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown this week that he's at the high end of that range and may still be growing. When he fills out, he should land at strongside defensive end, though if he gets much taller he may merit a look at offensive tackle.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
A nice thing about legacy recruits with early offers (LSU was Hutchinson's first): people actually scout their junior year. Scout's Allen Trieu liked Hutchinson's ability on both sides of the ball in Divine Child's game against Robichaud last August:
For Divine Child, the top ranked prospect on the team is defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. He played offensive line and moved inside on defense some too. He was impressive on the offensive line. He was physical and aggressive. On defense, he showed a good motor, hustled down a couple plays and had a few tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. He has a good frame and is going to be able to add a lot of weight still. He looks like a strongside end to me at the next level, but it will depend on how his body continues to develop. Good athlete, good, tough, football player as well.
The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught him in action a couple weeks later and focused on the physical development Hutchinson needs to make:
Physically, Hutchinson is still maturing especially in his upper body. Hutchinson just turned 16 a few weeks ago and is still filling out in his shoulders and chest. He's got long arms and, even though he is still bulking up, he has a lot of natural strength in those arms. During the game he didn't play much on defense because of the score but on offense he was able to show his strength and really used the leverage in his long frame to put a lot of defenders on the ground. He has a good motor and really runs well for a young defensive end prospect.
In terms of areas to improve it really comes down to physical maturation for Hutchinson. His lower body is starting to look thicker and stronger but his core and upper body still needs to catch up a bit. Once it does, he will really be a force with his natural athleticism and work ethic.
ESPN has an undated underclassman evaluation on his profile:
STRENGTHS: Tall kid with an excellent frame and a muscular build. Uses his long arms well to keep blockers at bay and has the strength to hold at the point of attack. Demonstrates a high football IQ and knows where the play is going. High motor kid who fights through the whistle and looks to punish opponents. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Not overly explosive and lacks the speed to consistently get around the edge. Will need to hit the weights in order to fill out his ample frame with functional strength. ... BOTTOM LINE: Hutchinson is a big, strong kid who plays with a relentless motor. He's not going to win any track meets, but this is prospect who should develop into an effective strong-side defensive end at the next level.
Some variation of "high motor" is appearing with great frequency.
— Josh Helmholdt (@JoshHelmholdt) February 20, 2017
We got more information on Hutchinson yesterday, when he was one of the standouts at the Best of the Midwest Combine. Josh Helmholdt had been a relative skeptic; he started coming around on Hutchinson's potential:
Considering his extensive offer list, I had been underwhelmed with Hutchinson in previous evaluations. Monday, though, was easily the best I had seen from the three-star defensive lineman. One of the key improvements for Hutchinson over last season is that he has reshaped his frame and is now filled out and strong to go along with great height and length. That has noticeably helped him at the point of attack, and he also looks more explosive. Put that combination together and you start to see why his offer list has expanded rapidly this winter.
Trieu had a brief but encouraging note:
Aidan Hutchinson shows good athleticism and bend for a kid that's 6-foot-5. He has gotten bigger and stronger as well.
"Bend"/flexibility can be a major issue for players of Hutchinson's size, but he looks like a relatively fluid athlete on film. He's even got a naturally low stance, which could be the product of growing up as the son of an All-American defensive lineman. 247's Steve Wiltfong noted that Hutchinson "looked dominant at times" while lining up at both tackle and end.
Hutchinson holds offers from Louisville, LSU, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Boston College, Minnesota, Syracuse, Toledo, Vanderbilt, and Wyoming. He visited Notre Dame yesterday but hadn't added an offer before he decided to end his recruitment.
Divine Child made the state semifinals in Michigan's Division 3, losing to eventual champion Orchard Lake St. Mary's. According to the Rivals database, which goes back to 2002, lists only one FBS commit from the program: two-star 2017 OT Liam Soraghan, who signed with Northern Illinois. According to the Bentley database, Michigan has had five football lettermen from Divine Child, most recently OT Tom Dohring, who was on the team from 1986-90.
Despite the lack of history there, Hutchinson isn't the only Divine Child prospect on the radar in 2018. Three-star QB Theo Day already holds a couple Big Ten offers, including one from MSU.
None that were readily available.
FAKE 40 TIME
Hutchinson has a SPARQ-verified 5.11 40-yard dash, which gets zero FAKEs out of five.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Since many 2018 prospects need scare quotes to describe the state of their commitment, it's worth mentioning that, as an in-state legacy recruit, Hutchinson is more likely to stick to an early pledge than most.
Hutchinson should slot in as a strongside end when he gets to campus in 2018. He'll almost certainly need a year or two to bulk up before he's ready to see significant time, by which point he'll compete for snaps with Carlo Kemp and the handful of SDE/DT types Michigan took in the 2017 class.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
I feel comfortable putting two things about the 2018 class here: it'll be relatively small compared to 2017 and it'll have Aidan Hutchinson in it.
Here's the class as it currently stands: