Last week, Michigan edge defender and presumed top-five draft pick in the upcoming draft Aidan Hutchinson caught some headlines after telling a Houston radio station that despite growing up in southeastern Michigan, he was not a Detroit Lions fan as a kid and seemed enamoured by the culture of Texas football, specifically in Houston.
“I actually grew up a Patriots fan with Tom Brady and stuff like that,” Hutchinson admitted. “So, I never really loved the Lions too much. But, hey, if they pick me, they’re getting it all.”
“I can’t lie to you,” Hutchinson later continued. “Just the air, the atmosphere, the vibes, Houston is a good place to be. If they draft me, I’d love to play for the Texans.”
Many ran with that quote assuming Hutchinson was not as interested in joining the Lions as he was the Texans. Of course, he also happened to be talking to a Houston radio station, which is important context.
This week Hutchinson joined ESPN insider Adam Schefter and seemed to tell a different side of the story. Schefter, a former University of Michigan graduate, asked Hutchinson how he would feel if he was drafted by the Lions.
“I think it’d be great, to be honest with you,” Hutchinson said. “I’d be the hometown hero times two. Never leaving Michigan, really.”
The Michigan defender decided to return to Michigan for his senior year in 2021, hoping to not only bring more success to the program he loved, but he was also well aware that one more year in college could improve his draft stock.
“They were only slotting me later in the first and somewhere in the second (in 2020),” Hutchinson said. “I kinda heard that draft report last year when I was a junior. I knew if I came back and I just played like I want to play and how I’m able to, I can show that I am worth a top-five pick.”
It obviously worked, as Hutchinson broke the school record for sacks in a single season with 14.0, including 3.0 sacks in the biggest game of the year against Ohio State. His breakout performance earned him second place in Heisman voting last week, and now he’s among a handful of prospects that experts are expecting to go in the top three.
Given his fiery attitude and no-quit engine on the field, many have speculated that he’s exactly the kind of player that Lions head coach Dan Campbell would go head over heels for. Well, it turns out that feeling may be mutual.
“I think Dan Campbell, he seems like a really good guy to me just from the outside,” Hutchinson told Schefter. “I know you can’t really judge a coach by what he does in the media, but just seeing what he does and how he treats his players. You know, they won that game last week and how his players were, they were all–I think that they’ve got a lot of heart on that team. And a couple more pieces to the puzzle, I think they can be a really good ball team.”
You can listen to the entire Hutchinson interview here. He starts talking about the Lions around the 20:10 mark.