JUNIOR COLLEGE ALL-AMERICAN yardage machine Derrell Hutsona tore it up for Grossmont College in 2005, racking up over 1,000 yards on just punt and kickoff returns alone. He'll be looking to do more of the same out on the Palouse this coming season. The 5-10, 183 pounder with speed to thrill has given his verbal commitment to Washington State. Hutsona talks to Cougfan.com about the reasons why he picked the Cougars over Kansas State and others.

On Monday, after his official visit to WSU over the weekend, Hutsona told Cougar assistant George Yarno he was committing during an in-home visit.

"I told coach Yarno," Hutsona said. "He said he was proud and told me, 'Welcome to the Cougar family!' Then I talked to coach (Bill) Doba and the running backs coach, coach (Kelly) Skipper."

Hutsona, who runs in the 4.3 range in the 40 yard dash and once clocked a 4.28, previously thought before his Wazzu trip he'd take his final trip to Kansas State this coming weekend but cancelled it earlier this week, saying Washington State is the place for him.

"I had kind of made my choice on the recruiting trip but I really didn't make my decision until (Monday)."

Hutsona chose Washington State over offers from Kansas State, New Mexico State, Utah and Arkansas and increasing interest from UCLA, Tennessee, Nevada, Colorado and others.

"I felt it's a comfortable spot for me there, one where I can fit in very well," said Hutsona. "The area is very nice. There were all types of "little things", like the campus, that I liked."

HUTSONA COULD PLAY a variety of roles for the Cougs, from special teams to catching passes to running back, and could be the frontrunner for punt return duties given the academic uncertainty surrounding the Michael Bumpus situation. Unlike Bumpus, Hutsona also looks to return kickoffs for the Cougars. The JC All-America Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Hutsona racked up over 1,000 yards on punt and kickoff returns alone in 2005.

He wasn't the featured RB for Grossmont but Hutsona still became a 1,000 yard back for the Griffins in 2005 with 1,291 rushing yards, (534 yards in playoffs). Aside from his top end speed, Hutsona worked hard this season on his blocking skills on his way to becoming a more complete running back.

"They're not guaranteeing my any spot -- you've got to work for that, but I'm going to go in with the mindset of going in to (earn playing time)," said Hutsona.

Including the '05 playoffs, Hutsona totaled an eye opening 2,534 all-purpose yards all told this season -- with nearly 1,000 of the total coming in crunch time over a four game playoff run, with Hutsona a key factor in helping Grossmont lay claim to the JC national title this season. Hutsona earned All-America Co-Offensive Player of the Year as named by the JC Athletic Bureau and the CCCFCA. He also was selected the all-California offensive player of the year and first team offense (Region III) by the same panel.

HUTSONA PREPPED WITH Reggie Bush and quarterback Alex Smith in a dream backfield at Helix High. His final two seasons at Helix, Hutsona rushed for 2,052 yards on but 154 carries, a 13.3-yard average that still stands as the San Diego Section career record. Bush gained 4,925 yards on 407 carries at Helix, good for third (12.1).

The two remain very close friends, with Bush and Hutsona getting together this past Thanksgiving and Christmas. During a Southern Cal bye and the following week's down time, Bush sat Hutsona's parents during a pair of Grossmont's playoff games. But the two are not competitive, and the inevitable media comparisons between the two are more a way to spice up a storyline, says Hutsona.

"They compare me to Reggie because we do the same things," said Hutsona. "I just smile because you can't really (make comparisons). We have different types of styles."

There's some question as to whether Hutsona, if he graduates on time, could get a year back and have three years to play at the next level. It looks, however, like he would have two years at a D-IA school. He's on pace to graduate this spring. He spent two years at San Jose State, one a redshirt season, before transferring to Grossmont.


  • The numbers can change all the way up until Signing Day but as of now, Cougfan.com is projecting Washington State will take 23 or 24 players in the 2006 class. The final figure may grow by 2 or 3 if the Cougars over-sign with the notion of turning those additions into grayshirts who will enroll a year from now and count toward the '07 class.

  • Hutsona becomes the 20th** known verbal commitment in the Washington State 2006 class, joining DE Preston Brooks, DE Ansley Clevil, TE Trevor Mooney, WR Greg Walker, OL Joey Eppele, DE/TE Kevin Kooyman, DB Kerry Maddox, WR Anthony Houston, WR Charles Dillon, TE Jason Price, RB J.T. Diederichs, WR Finas Rabb, DB B.T. Walker, OL Grady Maxwell, OL Micah Hannam, RB Skylar Jessen, LB/TE/S Andy Mattingly, RB Marcus Richmond, WR Keith Rosenberg.

    **Washington State also has a soft verbal in DB James Smith

    Derrell Hutsona profile

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