For all the success the Trojans have seen so far with the class of 2013, one position that hadn’t been addressed was linebacker but you can check that off the list today as Michael Hutchings (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) announced for USC.
This is an important commit as it is entirely possible that the Trojans will only take one true linebacker in the class and they got a good one. Hutchings is a championship-caliber player, the best player on a state-title winning De La Salle team and a prospect who is ranked as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN.
The De La Salle factor is hard to overlook, especially since Hutchings said one of the reasons USC got finalized in his mind was that it reminded him of his high school. The Spartans are widely considered the most successful high school football program in recent memory and -- as someone who has had a chance to cover the program many times -- I can assure you that their success is largely based on a foundation of hard work. Players from De La Salle know about dedication and commitment to team and Hutchings should fit right in at USC with those traits.
Of course, Hutchings has already fit in as a member of this USC recruiting class. He’s been very active in terms of staying in touch with other recruits in the class and he has long been a fan of the Trojans program. There was a brief hiccup in his path to USC after former linebacker coach Joe Barry left, and recently the Washington Huskies made a strong run behind fellow DLS alum Tosh Lupoi, but in the end Hutchings chose the school that he has long wanted to attend.
The Trojans are getting an athletic player with elite skills. Here is a portion of the scouting reporting from his ESPN evaluation:
“Hutchings is an explosive linebacker with exceptional instincts and toughness coveted at the position. A dominant downhill defender. Quick to read and react and fill with great power between the tackles.”
There are a lot of similarities between Hutchings and current USC tailback Tre Madden, who played linebacker in his first year at USC. A big key to a future position for Hutchings will be his size, he’s around 215 pounds right now which would indicate outside linebacker as a likely home but if he grows a lot it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see him one day in the middle.