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October 9, 2012
Michael Hutchings is a major part of a national powerhouse program and has played in many big settings, so earning an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is a perfect way for the USC commit to polish off his high school career.
The Concord (Calif.) De La Salle four-star linebacker, the top-rated outside linebacker in the West, was presented with his Army Bowl game jersey during a presentation at his high school on Tuesday.
There is still business to be done at De La Salle -- possibly another state bowl championship -- but on this special day the Army Bowl and all the history and tradition that come with it was first and foremost at the school.
"It's definitely a good way to cap off my four years in high school," Hutchings said. "It's more for my teammates and my coaches. I really think it's more of a team award. It's about my teammates, my coaches, my parents, anybody that has been involved in my career here.
"That's what (Michael) Barton and I were talking about the other night, how the All-Star games gave him a little bit of confidence going to college. A lot of these guys are going to college and will have a chance to play right away. It's nice to know you can compete at that level and it's a good feeling to compete at such a high level with those guys."
Rated as the eighth-best outside linebacker and No. 55 prospect in the 2013 class by Rivals.com, Hutchings has been committed to USC since July. Ever since the Trojans offered, it was really no secret they led in his recruitment and Hutchings said he has not second-guessed his pledge at all.
Hutchings attended the Cal-UCLA game last weekend where Barton, his friend from De La Salle, and others play, but Hutchings has made it clear multiple times he's set on USC and is finished with recruiting.
His recruitment might be complete, but the Army game always provides a chance for committed prospects to convince a few others that their particular school is the right one.
Since USC's class is all but wrapped up already, recruiting might not take on the same significance as in years past but there is always a chance to talk to one or two players, maybe a few others, just in case there are some de-commitments or surprises later in the recruiting process.
With so many USC commits playing in the Army game, Hutchings said he and the others will definitely focus on some recruiting but they're also going to San Antonio to spend time together and have a little fun.
"I don't think it's going to be a big deal for us," Hutchings said. "I know they've said in the past that they do a lot of recruiting at the Army game but this year it's going to be a little different. It will give us a chance to get closer with all the guys.
"It will allow us to keep the class together which isn't going to be a problem. ? It's going to be about making sure guys are fully committed. I think that's going to be a big thing with the game so close to signing day and just reaching out to some guys and making sure they're ready to go."