On Thursday 6-7, 245 athlete Darrion Hutcherson went a long way towards ending that when he committed to the Auburn Tigers over Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Utah and several other schools. Watching him grow from a big player into a big football player, coach Richard White said he sees nothing but good things down the road for the player they call ‘Man'.
"It's amazing," White said. "He played defensive end for us and we had to talk to him all the time about playing too high. At 6-7 you have to get low because they'll get under your pads. We had to teach him to get lower. One day out of the blue Chad (McKelvey) said we needed to look at him at Y.
"It wasn't like we didn't already have a good Y, but when you're 6-7 and 250 pounds he was a big target for Kyle (Kyle Caldwell) to throw to. We put him in there and threw him some passes and he started snatching things out of the air. His hands are so big when he wraps his hands around the football it's amazing. It's like us throwing a nerf football."
Playing defensive end for much of his life in addition to spending time developing his basketball skills, Hutcherson was bothered by a knee injury as a sophomore and had never really been given a look on offense. That changed early in 2010 thanks to McKelvey, Dadeville's offensive coordinator.
"For so long he was just a defensive guy," McKelvey said. "He always had the size and the ability to play defense, but he just wasn't fluid with some of the things he did on the offensive side of the ball. Over the last year or year and a half he started to grow into his body. The more we looked at him the better and better he was looking. We knew we had to take a look at him on the offensive side.
"When we did after a couple of weeks it was obvious he was getting the hang of it. The biggest thing was learning a new position that he didn't have the luxury of growing up learning through junior high. I think the most impressive thing that he does is blocking in the open field. For a big guy he does well getting out on corners and linebackers and safeties and manhandling those guys."
It was that physical nature that White said first caught his eye when he watched Hutcherson on film at tight end. Seeing him block and contain the edge was something that he wasn't expecting to see so early in his development.
"The best surprise about the whole thing was I knew he could catch the football because he played baseball and basketball, but the biggest thing was how well he blocked," White said. "We've got video of him putting defensive ends and outside linebackers in the ground. He's staying on blocks. When you're that big sometimes you're a little awkward and your football is not where it needs to be, but he's got great balance. He does a good job with his feet. I think it's something he wants to get better at and he needs to."
With the ability to play on either side of the football and size and athleticism you just can't coach, Hutcherson is another big addition to what is quickly becoming a strong class for coach Gene Chizik and his staff. McKelvey said potential is the key word for a player like Hutcherson and he sees a ton in Man.
"He's got tremendous upside, he really does," McKelvey said. "Just seeing him really become an athlete instead of a big kid that plays football, he's really learned how to use his body. He's gotten in the weight room and put on some weight. He's gotten quicker. He's got as much potential as anybody we've had around here that's for sure."