Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Mississippi State tight end Darrion Hutcherson talks about his emotions heading into senior day.

Growing up, Darrion Hutcherson dreamed of playing in the Iron Bowl. After signing with Auburn, it appeared that "Hutch" was well on his way to play in his home state's biggest college football rivalry. Four years later, Hutch will be recognized as a Mississippi State senior looking to earn his first win over rival Ole Miss this Saturday.

"I feel like I've grown into a man through all of this," Hutcherson said of his winding road from Daleville, Alabama to Starkville. "I had to overcome a lot of adversity. I thought I was going to be able to play D1 right out of high school, but God had another plan for me. He sent me on another route. 

"I ended up here at Mississippi State. Looking back over all of the adversity that I faced, I have no regrets at all. I am happy with how things turned out."

It "turned out" that Mississippi State would soar to #1 during Hutcherson's Bulldog career. Along the way, the Bulldogs picked up a pair of wins over Auburn. While those two victories mean a lot to the Alabama native, he is quick to point out that all wins in the SEC are important.

"Every win over every school, not just Auburn, is big," Hutcherson said. "Growing up, I watched the Iron Bowl and Egg Bowl every year. I used to like watching all of the rivalry games. It's been a good experience to get out my home state and be able to enjoy another rivalry."

While the talented tight end had some enjoyable memories of seeing the Magnolia State programs battle over the years, the one he is most fond of is the one that took place shortly before he enrolled in Starkville.

"My favorite one was the last one we played here," Hutcherson said. "Nickoe (Whitley) knocked the ball loose and Jamerson Love recovered it. Just seeing the win and all of the excitement really drew me to Mississippi State."

Hutcherson will be an active participant in this year's Egg Bowl looking to earn a victory alongside his fellow seniors. 

"Being a part of this team has been a great experience," Hutcherson said. "If I ever needed somebody to push me I had it. Sometimes I had to push them too. We always had each other's back. We just have a great bond.  Everything has been great."

With a bowl appearance secured, Hutcherson knows that his college career will be extended beyond the regular season. Heading into Saturday, Hutcherson reports that many of the lessons learned in Starkville will carry over to life outside of football.

"I learned how to give relentless effort in everything I do," Hutcherson said. "Coach (Scott) Sallach have had a great relationship. He drove down to Co-Lin and picked me up to bring me here on my official visit. 

"We have had a great bond ever since. He is hard on me, but he's a coach. That's his job. He has helped me become a better player. We have a great relationship."

As Hutcherson prepares for what comes next, he understands that he has a support system in Starkville that will always want what is best for him.

"I just have a great relationship with all of the coaches," Hutcherson explained. "They are like father figures to me. I can call or text any coach here if I need something, I know that they will always be there for me."

Strongly bonded to teammates and coaches, Hutcherson reports that he wants to be a part of a postgame celebration like he witnessed from the stands two years ago. 

"A win this week would be huge," Hutcherson said. "It's not just for me. I want to get a win for our University, our program and our fans. I just want everybody to be able to celebrate together one more time."


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