Inextricably Tied to His Father, Aidan Hutchinson Determined to Forge Own Legacy

aidan hutchinson michigan freshman defensive end

Inextricably Tied to His Father, Aidan Hutchinson Determined to Forge Own Legacy

Football

Inextricably Tied to His Father, Aidan Hutchinson Determined to Forge Own Legacy

ANN ARBOR, Mich — Senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marshall swears: Aidan Hutchinson will be an All-American before his time in a Michigan uniform is done. That’s pretty lofty praise coming from a fifth-year guy who’s played with a few All-Americans in his time in Ann Arbor, especially about a guy who has played in four total games and has been on campus for just a few short months.

But is it really a surprise? Given his family pedigree, not so much.

The son of former Michigan star — and you guessed it, All-American — defensive end Chris Hutchinson, it’s been a dream for Aidan to follow in his father’s footsteps and do big things at The Big House. But, it’s not the legacy that drives him. It’s not his father’s example, it’s not the expectations that come with being a former four-star.

It’s cementing a legacy of his own.

“I set the bar high for myself, I think,” Hutchinson said. “Obviously, with him being an All-American here, obviously that was a high standard for me, I think. But I set my own expectation for myself and I set the bar for myself.”

And he’s already starting to do it, in just four games.

Perhaps that’s getting ahead, but considering Hutchinson cracked the two-deep of one of the nation’s best defensive lines as a true freshman tells you all you need to know about his potential, his mental fortitude and where he can end up.

One player many see as a future All-American on that defensive line is junior Rashan Gary, who also cracked the two-deep upon arriving in Ann Arbor. And as Gary said earlier this week, Hutchinson is further along than he was at the same time.

“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 isn’t relying on a family name to help him get along. It’s not a surprise to him that he’s performing at a high level so quickly.

Because he took to the coaching and made sure that he did everything asked. In short — he earned it.

“I worked hard to get here,” Hutchinson said. “Obviously, going into this good a defensive line, it’s a little bit surprising. I think I’m doing fine!”

His teammates obviously agree.

Marshall shares what makes Hutchinson so special, and why he’s been able to make such an early contribution.

He already has 10 tackles through four games, including one for loss, and a big tipped pass that made its way back to quarterback Adrian Martinez, who illegally attempted another pass. The play was called a safety, and Hutchinson was responsible for garnering those two points in favor of the Wolverines.

It’s because he knows the game he plays — a lot of which can be accredited to his father, Chris. Because he didn’t arrive on campus as just another doe-eyed freshman who needed to be taught the ins-and-outs.

He already had a firm understanding of what would be expected of him and how the game is played.

“Aidan – he just goes hard,” Marshall said. “He’s strong, he goes hard. He’s smart. He really understands football. A lot of freshmen, when they come in, they don’t understand the adjustment from high school to college. He really understands football.”

But doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a learning curve or — well — growing pains.

Hutchinson saw playing time in his very first game as a Wolverine, taking the field against Notre Dame in South Bend. And he was so excited to get out onto the playing field that he forgot something.

“Actually, my first play – Rashan was tired and ran off the field,” “I went in there like real fast. Honestly, I didn’t even know the play! I didn’t get the call in time, so I was kinda freaking out a little bit!

“So yeah, my first play wasn’t ideal, but it was definitely pretty, pretty cool being out there.”

As far as the learning curve goes, a big part of it is time management, and keeping up with all of the newfound responsibilities.

Playing football is a full-time job, and so is being a full-time student. True freshmen who aren’t early-enrollees are thrown into the fire, taking a full course load during fall camp.

So while you’re trying to learn the playbook and taking a beating on the practice field, getting acclimated to college football, trying to make sure you’re holding your own against your competition, you’re also making sure you’re doing your Spanish 101 homework, preparing for the Anthro 102 test and working on that English project.

“During camp, it was pretty bad,” Hutchinson said. “School and camp going on – that was probably the worst! But it’s starting to calm down a little bit.”

Hutchinson’s perseverance continues to pay off. With strength coach Ben Herbert and nutritionist Abigail O’Connor leading the way, he’s up to 270-pounds.

He has size going for him, so now it’s all about honing technique and figuring out the rest along the way.

“I gained about 15-pounds,” Hutchinson said. “I came in at 255. And some of the strides – just technique. It’s a lot different at the college level. It’s a lot harder. So I had a hard transition for technique-wise coming here, because camp was a little hard the first two weeks. I eased into it and I finally got my grasp on everything. I think I’m starting to get a feel of the game.”

Hutchinson’s next opportunity will come on Saturday, as the Wolverines travel to Evanston to take on Northwestern at 4:30PM EST.

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