Introducing something somewhat resembling a spiritual successor to WBE’s Google Surveys the Recruits. Just like the good old days, we’ll scour the Internet for any kind of links or notes regarding a featured 2012 signee, and mix it together along with a fair share of opinion in order to give some insight on what to expect from these incoming freshmen in the fall — and hopefully provide you with some easy summer reading. Previously: Jonathan Wallace.
Since we started this season’s Surveying the Recruits with quarterback Jonathan Wallace, it only made sense that we follow it up with the other home-grown product of the 2012 signing class, Darrion Hutercherson.
I had the chance to cover Hutcherson and his Dadeville Tigers on stringer duty last fall. If memory serves, he only had a couple passes thrown his way in the rout, but that doesn’t mean the tight end didn’t do great things his senior year, or that Auburn fans shouldn’t expect great things from him.
Thanks to Philip Lutzenkirchen’s heroic hands, the quintessential receiving tight end has become a fixture of Auburn football. Could Hutcherson possibly be the man to fill the Swede Killa’s dancing shoes beyond 2012?
THE ESSENTIALS: We’ll start with some facts and figures from Hutcherson’s AUfficial signing day bio:
TE, 6-7, 247 Dadeville, AL (Dadeville HS) High School Coach: Richard White
HIGH SCHOOL: Ranked 15th overall from the state of Alabama by SuperPrep. Ranked 12th on the Birmingham News’ list of 2012 Super Seniors. Ranked 118th on the Mobile Press-Register’s Super Southeast 120. Selected to the ESPN All-Alabama Football team prior to his senior season. Member of the 4A Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State team in senior season. Selected to play in the 2012 Offense-Defense All-American Game following his senior season. Caught 31 passes for 550 yards and 6 touchdowns on offense while collecting 36 tackles (18 solo) including 2 sacks and 1 INT on defense in his senior season.
As you can see, Hutcherson spent plenty of time on the defensive side of the ball, not only during his senior year but throughout his high school career, lining up at defensive end above and beyond his duties at tight end.
Auburn offered Darrion — and he committed — in the spring of last year, well before his senior season even began. But he didn’t disappoint during his 12th-grade year, as you can tell by the awards and accolades listed above.
As for Dadeville, they pounded their way to a region championship and a 12-0 record before falling in the quarterfinals of the AHSAA Class 4A playoffs in their only loss of the season.
ANALYST’S ANALYSIS: Hutcherson was a universal three-star prospect coming out of high school, and for the most part was regarded as a top-20 tight end prospect nationally and a top-20 overall player statewide.
247Sports rated him most favorably, ranking him as the 13th-best tight end nationally and the 14th-best player in Alabama. Scout wasn’t far behind, positioning him as the 14th best tight end in the country, while Rivals rated Darrion as the No. 20 tight end and the 18th-overall player in the state.
ESPN was the least generous of the crew, ranking him as the nation’s 31st-overall tight end and as the 25th-best player in Alabama.
LINKS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST: Perhaps the most interesting — and definitely the most encouraging — aspect of Hutcherson’s recruitment last year was his super-early, super-solid commitment back in April of 2011.
This David Morrison article at the O-A News from back around signing day sheds a little light (and is well worth your time):
Coaches started calling “24, 7.” It was fun. Until it wasn’t.
“It’s just busy,” Hutcherson said. “It gets old after a while. You’re like, ‘Ah, forget this.’
“That’s why I just went on and committed. I knew where I was going anyway. I wasn’t trying to blow up in the media or anything.”
Auburn offered the 6-foot-7, 247-pound Hutcherson on April 12, and he committed to the Tigers nine days later.
His mind was made up, and it wasn’t changing, no matter how many schools kept calling him after his commitment.
Another interesting fact David mentioned there (and something that you can go ahead and add to Hutcherson’s long list of accolades): Darrion became the first Dadeville football player to sign to a Division-I school in 16 years.
Morrison was also around for video, notes and quotes during Hutcherson’s commitment announcement.
There’s plenty of other links where you can find out more about the big tight end, including Joel Erickson’s signee profile and my little post right here at TWER way back after his commitment.
HIGHLIGHTS: There’s a lot of free video highlights of Hutcherson’s out there, mostly from his junior year. But you might have the most fun with his single-game reel from Bryan Matthews of AuburnUndercover, where you’ll find Hutcherson blocking, catching, running and, yes, tackling, during his senior year:
247Sports also has another nice tape of Hutcherson during his junior year here, and, of course, there’s always the AUfficial signing day video.
If that’s not enough, you can find plenty more Hutcherson-in-action footage, dating all the way back to 2009, right here.
As far as off-the-field video and interviews go, SportsBlitz has to take the cake with this 15-minute entry from Hutcherson’s commitment announcement that I’d be remiss not to share.
WHAT’S NEXT? No matter how many stars you rated Darrion Hutcherson coming out of high school, the truth is it’s going to be pretty hard to keep 6-foot-7 off of the field in the near future.
New Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler promises to tailor his offense to his team and its talents, and with a weapon like Lutzenkirchen coming into his senior year, it’s obvious that he’ll be putting some emphasis on the tight end spot in the new scheme.
If Hutcherson doesn’t work out at the tight end spot down the road, he’ll find his way onto the field in some capacity. As he’s said during the recruiting process, he’s willing to play wherever his coaches want him to.
It’ll come down to Hutcherson and rising sophomore Brandon Fulse as to who will attempt to fill Lutzenkirchen’s shoes down the road.
For now, Darrion will probably be hitting the weight room and sharpening his skills on special teams during the 2012 season.
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