Michigan freshman DL Aidan Hutchinson 'playing at an upper-class level'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson tackles Nebraska quarterback Andrew Bunch in the fourth quarter.

Ann Arbor — The freshman turning heads early this season for Michigan is defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, who has been mentored by junior Rashan Gary.

Gary took a breather for a large part of the win over Nebraska last Saturday, giving Hutchinson a chance to play. Hutchinson, the son of former Michigan All-American defensive lineman Chris Hutchinson, has 10 tackles, including one for loss.

“Aidan Hutchinson is playing at a really upper-class level right now,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. “He’s a true freshman doing extremely well.”

Gary spoke of Hutchinson the same way former Wolverine Chris Wormley spoke of Gary when he was a freshman.

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“Aidan came in ready to learn,” Gary said. “He didn’t come in with the mindset that he knew too much. He always came in with the mindset he wanted to grow and get better. Having someone like that I get to have underneath my wing just teaching him things I learned my freshman year and being a big brother to him is great.

“Seeing him in a game, seeing him perform and happy, I’m  like, ‘When you’re on the field, this is yours, no one can take that from you. So enjoy it, put on a show.’  I’m happy he’s part of our D line.”

Gary, the No. 1 player out of high school, has heaped praise on Hutchinson.

“I tell him all the time, my freshman year he’s ahead of where I was,” Gary said. “I give him a little confidence but then also let him know where he has to improve. Him making plays is a good feeling for him and a good feeling for us as a defense.”

Northwestern standout career over

The Wildcats will be without sophomore Jeremy Larkin, it was announced Monday. He has decided to retire from the game after a diagnosis of cervical stenosis that is not life-threatening but prevents him from playing football.

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was 5 years old,” Larkin said in a release. "I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.”

Larkin had rushed for 346 yards and had 19 catches for 127 yards and five touchdowns in the opening three games this season as the Wildcats' primary running back.

"Larkin is a heck of a player," Harbaugh said on his radio show. "That was sad news to get. You hate to see that. We wish him well. Have great respect for him as a person and a player."


Twitter: @chengelis