Name: Aidan Hutchinson
Weight: 278 lbs.
High school: Dearborn (MI) Divine Child
Position: Defensive end
Jersey number: #97
Last year: I ranked Hutchinson #66 and said he would be a backup defensive end (LINK). He made 15 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
TTB Rating: 88
Hutchinson flew under the radar a little bit in 2018, which is understandable when you have a dynamic player like Chase Winovich at one defensive end and the former #1 player overall at the other defensive end spot. You could be an excellent player and still not receive much attention. Hutchinson wasn’t excellent, but he still showed flashes. You could tell the game was moving a little too quickly for him, and sometimes his reads just couldn’t keep up. He finished the season with 15 total tackles, but his playing time and production dwindled when the going got tough late in the year.
This year Hutchinson makes a jump all the way from #66 up to #3, which is a huge leap. That is the result of two major factors:
1. I think he’s going to be very good.
2. Michigan needs him on the field.
I said during the 2018 recruiting cycle that I thought Hutchinson was the best player in the State of Michigan, and nothing I’ve seen so far has caused me to stray from that evaluation. The physical skills are there. It’s the mental side of things that was a bit of an issue. Now he has a year under his belt, he’s getting more reps in practice, and he’s also 278 lbs. of muscle.
As for needing him on the field, Michigan is a little depleted on the defensive line. Winovich and Gary both moved on to the NFL, and there’s a lot of talent at defensive end but not much experience. Kwity Paye at weakside end is a junior, and fifth year senior Mike Danna played quite a bit at Central Michigan, but behind them are all players who haven’t seen the field. On top of that inexperience, Michigan needs the defensive line to come up big because of a lack of talent and depth at the cornerback positions. If they can’t put pressure on quarterbacks, teams could quite possibly pick apart Ambry Thomas, Vincent Gray, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and others on the back end.
Prediction: Starting Anchor; 50 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 5 sacks