Rashan Gary Says of Aidan Hutchinson: 'He's Ahead of Where I Was as a Freshman'

aidan hutchinson michigan defensive end

Rashan Gary Says of Aidan Hutchinson: 'He's Ahead of Where I Was as a Freshman'

Football

Rashan Gary Says of Aidan Hutchinson: 'He's Ahead of Where I Was as a Freshman'

ANN ARBOR, Mich — In 2016, through four games, Michigan played 18 true freshmen. In 2017, 14 saw the field early.

2018 has been a different story altogether, though, with only 7 making an early college debut. But one has stood apart as a player who’s cracked the two-deep.

Dearborn (MI) Divine Child legacy strong-side defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has made an early impact when his number has been called. The son of former Michigan All-American defensive end Chris Hutchinson, Aidan has compiled 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and batted Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez’s pass in the endzone which he caught and tried to throw again, resulting in a safety on Saturday.

The former four-star and Army All-American has made his presence known early, and a lot of his ability to see the field early and often has come because of his willingness to learn from those who came before him.

Of course, he has a superstar father who knows what it takes to play the position. But, with Michigan star Rashan Gary taking him under his wing, he’s made the most out of his situation since arriving in Ann Arbor.

“Aidan came in ready to learn,” Gary said. “He doesn’t come in with the mindset that he knew too much. He always came in with the mindset that he wanted grow and get better and he could always improve. Just having somebody like that that I get to have beneath my wing, just teaching things I learned my freshman year and being a big brother to him, it’s great.

“Then, having him in the game and seeing him perform, you know, him being happy – this is, ‘When you’re on the field, this is yours! This is yours, nobody can take that from you. So enjoy (putting on) a show.’ I’m just happy that I got him to be a part of our D-line.”

Usually, it takes a minute for true freshmen to come in and crack the two-deep.

Gary had Carlo Kemp as his backup last year, but with Kemp moving inside this year, Hutchinson has made the most of his opportunity. He’s played a significant role in all four games on the defensive line to this point, was pivotal on Josh Metellus’ Week Three interception return, making a key block downfield, and even has shined in special teams.

That has the former five-star, in Rashan Gary, beaming from ear-to-ear. As far as he sees it, Hutchinson isn’t just far ahead of the learning curve, but he’s further along than he was at the same stage.

Pretty lofty praise, considering that Gary came in as the consensus top recruit in the entire country, across all recruiting services, in 2016.

“I tell him all the time, my freshman year, he’s ahead of where I was,” Gary said. “Give him a little confidence but also letting him know what he has to improve. Having Aidan getting the reps in the game, and him being a factor, making plays, it’s a good feeling for him and it’s a good feeling for us as a defense and as a D-line.”

But, Hutchinson’s extended minutes against Nebraska came at the expense of Gary’s playing time. Of course, it’s difficult for a competitor like Gary to come off the field, but when Hutchinson said he was ready for his turn, Gary find out impossible to turn him down. “What was I supposed to tell him, no?”

In the end, Gary said it was good, not just for Hutchinson to get pivotal in-game reps, but also so that they could work together to help improve his craft, mid-game.

“I was actually happy because I got to help Aidan with what he was seeing in the game – just hyping him up, getting hype with him. Letting him know that, when you’re on the field, this is yours. Everything you want, you can go get it.”

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