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Sunday, January 20, 2013
USC pledge Hutchings makes new stand

By Blair Angulo

There wasn’t much doubt surrounding the commitment of four-star linebacker Michael Hutchings (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) before USC’s big recruiting weekend. Hutchings had remained firm to his commitment since deciding on the Trojans in July and even canceled a trip to Washington following the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Following a 48-hour visit to Los Angeles, Hutchings is ready to completely shut down his recruitment. He is all USC.

“I’m just ready to shut it down and finish getting the last few pieces in this class,” Hutchings said. “I’m just about ready for signing day.”

USC named former Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast to the same position on Friday, just before targets arrived on campus for the biggest recruiting weekend of the year.

Hutchings had a previous relationship with Pendergast, who recruited the No. 4-rated OLB at Cal.

“Me and coach Pendergast picked up right where we left off,” Hutchings said. “He plans to run a similar scheme that he ran at Cal, so I’m very familiar with his scheme just from being up there a few times. That was good to see and hear about. We talked about where I’ll fit in his scheme. In the 3-4 scheme, I’ll play one of two inside linebacker spots. They’re both kind of interchangeable. I was happy to hear that.”

Recruits were allowed to put on the cardinal and gold jerseys in the locker room before walking out of the Coliseum tunnel onto a dimly lit field.

“The Coliseum experience was crazy, even though there was nobody in there,” Hutchings said with a laugh. “It was great. It gave me chills, really. You can only imagine how crazy it is during a game day. With 90,000 fans in there, it’s going to be crazy.”

Hutchings was joined on campus by two other highly coveted linebackers, five-star Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) and Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland).

“I feel like they had a great time,” Hutchings said. “We talked and they said they loved it. I know Matthew has two more visits, to Florida State and Georgia, so I don’t know how that can go, but I think Quinton was on board a lot, especially with his past relationship with Leonard Williams.”

The weekend provided Hutchings with a glimpse of what’s to come and only made him more anxious to arrive on campus.

“My favorite part was being with the guys,” Hutchings said. “The older guys welcomed us with open arms. It was a great weekend with the older guys on the team -- Hayes (Pullard), Marqise (Lee) and Jabari (Ruffin), who hosted me. It was a great time also with the coaches, getting a chance to talk to them not about football, but just spend regular time with them.”