Happening Early for Hutchings

Michael Hutchings was awarded the California Sophomore of the Year in 2010, and the 6-1, 210-pound linebacker prospect from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle is now taken aback by the early scholarship offers and recruiting attention...

Concord (Calif.) De La Salle linebacker Michael Hutchings (6-1, 210) knows all the history and tradition that comes with playing for the Spartans.

He knows which schools have recruited De La Salle well, he knows where some of the past Spartan stars have gone, and he's always envisioned himself joining those ranks.

Hutchings just didn't think he'd be getting those offers for another year.

But after a season in which he earned California Sophomore of the Year honors by GoldenStatePreps.com, the elite 2013 prospect has seen his recruitment kick up a notch a year earlier then he imagined.

"Honestly, I wasn't expecting offers until after my junior year, if I even got them," said Hutchings. "It's definitely above what I expected it to be. Thankfully, my parents are helping me through the process. It's exciting, but it's also pressure on you because I have two more years of it. But it's exciting."

Hutchings thought at this point, with not quite two years of high school under his belt, schools would be more interested in his teammates, and maybe pass a glance at him.

"At this point, on my timeline, I was just looking at having just a few interest letters, but it's obviously above my expectations and my parents' expectations," said Hutchings. "One of my coaches, Coach (Nathan) Kenion, he drives me a lot, making me work harder, making personal goals and trying to become the number one athlete on the West Coast. So it makes me work harder. This summer we'll be going to the beach and doing sand hills. It's just helping me become more focused."

Five schools have offered Hutchings: Cal, Michigan, Oregon State, UCLA and USC. It's likely that several more will make their best efforts before he even begins his junior year.

He's had several former Spartans as role modles, as both players to model his game after and to witness how they went through the recruiting process.

Two teammates, Blake Renaud and Dylan Wynn, signed with Boise State and Oregon State respectively, in February.

"Blake and Dylan, I didn't talk to them that much about recruiting, because I didn't expect it until a while down the road," said Hutchings. "But I looked up to them as players and how they went about things."

Two other teammates, 2012 prospects Michael Barton and Bart Houston, will be back for the Spartans this fall, and they've committed to Cal and Wisconsin.

"I asked Barton about the process, and he told me just take it slow, don't let anyone try to pressure you, basically take it slow and take your visits and talk about it with your parents," said Hutchings. "So I'm going to take it slow."

Each of the five offers have stood out to Hutchings.

On Oregon State: "Oregon State is starting to become a pipeline. They have our running backs, Tyler Anderson and Terron Ward and then Dylan signed there, so it gives me an inside source."

On UCLA- "One of our coaches played at UCLA and Maurice Jones-Drew comes up here a lot because of the lockout and he's always talking about UCLA and wearing UCLA gear. Hopefully I can talk to Maurice a lot about UCLA. They're rebuilding right now but they're on their way back."

On Michigan- "Michigan is legendary. They've won all those Big Ten Championships. Amani Toomer comes by the school a lot and he's talking about Michigan and telling us that Michigan should definitely be up there on our list in all aspects, both education and sports wise."

On USC- "That was my dream school. They have a ton of history and a bunch of great linebackers like Brian Cushing, Rey Maualauga, Clay Matthews and then Taylor Mays. Those are just some recent guys, and then you can go all the way back to Lofa Tatupu."

On Cal- "Cal is right in my back yard. Barton already committed and that's definitely a school that is going to be up there for the education aspect. They have the new stadium coming, new facilities and I'll have Barton there as an inside source."

Hutchings embraced the connections with each school.

"Definitely having a pipeline out of De La Salle and the wide variety of alums and colleges, you can hear their side of it, the pros and cons of each school, and how they handle things," said Hutchings.

Hutchings started outside last year in his sophomore season, giving the Spartans arguably the best linebacker corps in the West if not the country, with him, Barton and Renaud.

This year, he'll take over inside for Renaud.

"I'm moving inside, but outside is still where I think I'll end up in college," said Hutchings.

Hutchings plans to camp at USC's Rising Stars Camp and will visit UCLA unofficially later this month and he'll also unofficially visit Cal and could camp there.

And things may not be done with offers soon.

"I think Arizona and Arizona State will be offering sometime in the next week," said Hutchings. "And Notre Dame could be offering soon too. We have a history there too with Derek Landri and Aaron Taylor."

But before Hutchings can join the annals of great former Spartans, he still has some business to take care of.

"We won a state championship," said Hutchings. "But we want a national championship."

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