Dadeville’s Hutcherson commits to Tigers

Darrion Hutcherson is Auburns fifth commitment for 2012

DADEVILLE—At the end of football season in November, Dadeville’s Darrion Hutcherson was far from a known commodity.

A physical specimen, sure, at 6-foot-7, 245 pounds, but hardly the type of prospect that was a lock to garner major college offers.

Then the Dadeville staff started sending out film so college coaches could see their junior tight end’s hands, how they were big enough to completely envelop a football.

They could see him blocking on screen plays, getting out into space and planting linebackers into the turf.

They could see his unusual speed for his size, quantified recently in a 4.7-second 40-yard dash at a camp in Leeds.

“Once they saw the film on him, they wanted more,” Tigers head coach Richard White said. “Word of mouth gets around. Next thing you know, we’re getting phone calls from everybody, 10, 12, 15 phone calls from coaches trying to get him to visit, to get film on him.

“It’s almost like a little ol’ pea going down a hill. Next thing you know, it’s turned into a big ol’ snow ball.”

But Hutcherson was waiting on the one offer that mattered most to him, the one from the school he grew up idolizing.

When he got it, he didn’t exactly have to agonize over the decision.

The lifelong Auburn fan didn’t give the crowd in the Dadeville library much suspense before pulling out a Tigers hat and pulling its brim snugly down on his head Thursday.

“It’s like a dream come true,” Hutcherson said. “Ever since I was a little kid, everyone in my house has been an Alabama fan and tried to turn me into one, but I’m like, ‘Nah.’

“I keep up with Auburn 24, 7. Never missed a game. I wanted to grow up and be an Auburn Tiger.”

Hutcherson played exclusively defensive end for Dadeville in his sophomore year, but Tigers offensive coordinator Chad McKelvey couldn’t help but wonder what the large-bodied underclassman could do with the ball in his hands.

A lot, it turned out.

“We got him out there, got him to learn the routes and started noticing he was catching every ball we threw to him,” White said. “And he blocked so well in our screen game. Once we saw that, we thought, ‘Well, we might have solved some of our problems here.’”

Hutcherson stayed at defensive end for the Tigers last year, compiling 57 tackles, six sacks and five pass deflections, but also became an increasingly potent target for quarterback Kyle Caldwell down the stretch, catching 12 passes for 350 yards and helping Dadeville to a
12-1 record and it first quarterfinal appearance since 2000.

Then the tapes went out. The calls and scholarship offers started coming from places like Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Utah, which were his other three finalists.

But Auburn always held a special place for Hutcherson. And now that his commitment is made, Hutcherson said he’s not taking any more visits.

“I’m committed to this family,” Hutcherson said. “Why go take another visit? I know where I’m going, and I have a family there.”

Hutcherson makes five commits for the Tigers’ Class of 2012 and the second in as many days after five-star quarterback Zeke Pike out of Kentucky committed Wednesday.

Oxford High guard Michael Flint, Woodlawn (Birmingham) High linebacker Cassanova McKinzy and West Limestone (Lester) High wideout Alex Taylor round out the class.

Hutcherson said he spoke with Pike before making his decision.

“He’s like, ‘Just come on and be a Tiger, man,’” Hutcherson said. “We gave each other out word. We’re like, ‘We’re not going to turn our back on family.’ Family don’t do that.

“Me, Zeke and Cass (McKinzy), we’re going to be the No. 1 recruiting class.”

But he’s still got some unfinished business at Dadeville.

Hutcherson will combine with fellow returning starters Rashad Blackwell, Rod Crayton and Serdarryen Pulliam on the line to form the heart of the Tigers’ defense this year.

“We’re going to make another run for it,” Hutcherson said. “It’s not going to be a cakewalk for the other teams, because we’re coming harder than ever this year.”

Hutcherson’s success can also help teammates such as Blackwell, Crayton and Pulliam have a higher status on the recruiting scene.

The rising senior is the first Division I-A signee from Dadeville since Rodney Crayton (Auburn) and Rodregis Brooks (UAB) in 1996.

He hopes he’s a trendsetter.

“I just want to put my school back on the map,” Hutcherson said. “And have other people set their goals to where they can do the same thing I did here today.”

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