Film breakdown of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle linebacker Michael Hutchings.
Michael Hutchings is a top linebacker recruit out of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle High School. Hutchings stands 6'2 and 210 pounds, and he is a consensus four-star recruit. He claims offers from: USC, UCLA, California, Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Utah, Washington and Washington State
Versatility: Lines up at various positions at times for the Spartan defense
Strength at the point of attack, especially for a linebacker of his size
Instincts: Plays fast due to very good diagnostic skills
Not an elite, quick-twitch athlete
No set linebacker spot at the next level
A four-star prospect and arguably the best prep football player in all of Northern California, Hutchings plays for perennial national powerhouse De La Salle High School. While at first glance Hutchings may not register as the biggest linebacker prospect, he possesses a thick lower half and has room to add a few additional pounds up top. A versatile athlete, Hutchings lines up at safety in addition to all three linebacker positions, but spends the majority of his time at the middle linebacker spot.
Hutchings sits low in his stance, carries a low center of gravity, and is a downhill player who plays with much more power at the point of attack than his frame would suggest. He finds the ball quickly and is aggressive in taking on and disengaging from blockers as well.
Hutchings is explosive on contact and plays with excellent leverage, making strong form tackles that surrender little, if any, yards after contact. Hutchings can be a bit tight hipped and often will have to take an elongated step in order to gather himself prior to redirecting in space or transitioning to flow laterally against outside runs. Once he is able to redistribute his momentum, however, he shows good speed in pursuit and takes great angles to the ball.
Hutchings is great at forcing perimeter runs back inside then cleaning up as a ball carrier attempts to cut back off tackle. At the next level, Hutchings will probably need to do a better job of using his length to "defeat "or slip blocks as opposed to taking them on directly.
As good as Hutchings is versus the run, against the pass he flashes a diverse skill set. He will occasionally even line up at safety in De La Salle's cover two alignment. Although he shows the ability to cover his deep half responsibility, he likely won't be asked to assume many of those types of duties at the collegiate level.
As strictly a coverage linebacker, Hutchings gets good depth in his drops, reads patterns and can step in front of passes. Hutchings should be able cover tight ends one-on-one effectively at the collegiate level. However, he may have more difficulty attempting to stay with smaller shiftier backs running wheel, arrow, or button hook routes out of the backfield. As an edge rusher, Hutching shows good burst and closing speed. He is a generally a mismatch for any tailback assigned to block him one on one.
Overall, Hutchings is an excellent linebacker prospect with advanced football intelligence.