April 18, 2011

Alabama tight end lands SEC West offer

Darrion Hutcherson was bewildered at first.

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was visiting with the 6-foot-7, 242-pound tight end in his Oxford office on Saturday morning and implied that the Rebels had offered the Dadeville, Ala., standout.

Hutcherson had no idea. Soon, however, the confusion was cleared up and Hutcherson learned he had indeed picked up another Southeastern Conference scholarship offer.

"I was shocked because he said he had offered me but I didn't know it," Hutcherson said. "I was shocked/excited."

Hutcherson was in Oxford for the Rebels' junior day Saturday. He and the rest of the Dadeville contingent left before Ole Miss' Grove Bowl game kicked off early that afternoon, but Hutcherson stayed long enough to get a feel for the campus and meet with the Rebels' coaching staff.

"Everything went well. I talked to Coach Nutt in his office," Hutcherson said. "He said he was going to be at our place for spring and he invited me to camp. Coach Nutt is a great coach. He's a great person."

Besides Ole Miss, Hutcherson has picked up offers from Auburn, Oklahoma State, Southern Mississippi, East Carolina, Louisville, Utah and Vanderbilt. The home-state Tigers, located just east of Dadeville on U.S. Highway 280, are going to be difficult to beat, Hutcherson acknowledged.

"I grew up an Auburn fan," Hutcherson said. "They're definitely my leader right now, but Ole Miss is definitely top five.

"It's going to be about coaching staff and about my education. It will be about more than football. As far as football, I want to go to a good program that uses the tight a lot."

Hutcherson said Alabama is "real close" to offering, and he believes both Florida and Florida State are as well. The Crimson Tide, he said, would immediately be a major factor if Nick Saban and Co. do indeed extend an offer to sign with the Crimson Tide.

"That would definitely put them in the top five," Hutcherson said. "They have a great coaching staff and they know how to win. They use the tight end a lot."

Hutcherson caught 15 passes for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns as a junior, adding 57 tackles and six quarterback sacks on defense. His rise to prominence as a prospect, however, "hit me before I knew it." His tour of schools, he admitted, has only made his ultimate decision more daunting.

"All of them are good football programs," Hutcherson said. "All of them show a lot of love, but the reason I like Auburn is it's like family. I grew up an Auburn fan They're trying (to get an early commitment), but I told them I need time to think before committing right off the bat. I don't want to regret my decision. I need more time to make my decision."

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