Strengths: The definition of a lineman-athlete, extremely quick and active for someone on the line of scrimmage, but also blessed with a frame that can add a lot more muscle over the coming years, very long arms for controlling offensive linemen and tackling athletes, a nose for the ball, an ability to track down athletes in space, great change of direction, very quick reflexes, great use of hands.
Weaknesses: He’ll need to bulk up, and working on his hip flexibility would be a plus.
Some players have a game that’s quick to love. With Aidan, his game tends to grow on you the more you watch him. My first impression was that he’s reliable: basically, you don’t have to worry about his part of the field, but you know that life’s going to be very hard on the opposition whenever he’s involved.
But Hutchinson also belongs to a general sub-group of linemen that I’ve noticed more and more, guys who would be darn good athletes in their own right but are asked to bulk up to pickle jar-opening levels and dominate in the trenches. Indiana had great success with this on their offensive line under Kevin Wilson and now Michigan offensive tackles coach Greg Frey, and if you follow current Green Bay Packer Jason Spriggs’ development all the way back to his high school days, you’d see a twig who can run really fast. In some ways, it’s a great way to develop terrifying bigs - if you can get your hands on those kinds of athletes.
Aidan Hutchinson is that kind of guy. He’ll be able to pass rush and plug the run, take care of the perimeter and could also (eventually, if he needed to) handle a three-tech position. He’s versatile, he makes plays, and he’s a very safe choice to develop into a great player down the road.
Player that he could turn into: Hutchinson reminds me a lot of Chris Wormley, who was 6’5”, 250 pounds coming out of his senior year at Whitmer in Toledo, Ohio. Hutchinson, still a junior, is 6’5”, 234.
Again, you see the same traits with Wormley: an athlete up at the line, somebody who can make plays all game long against the run, and a versatile talent who shuts down a big portion of the opponent’s offense. Both these guys knew how to play ball, and they had the physical tools to affect a big swath of the game.
We’ll see how the 2018 class shapes out, but this is a great start to reloading on that defensive line for Michigan. It solidifies in-state recruiting and gives Michigan a legacy player, but on top of that, Aidan has lots of talent and is a very safe bet to contribute during his career. Great early pick-up for the Maize and Blue in 2018.