Here are some of the factors going into Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson's draft decision




 

One of Michigan football's top NFL prospects continues to mull over his future.

In a Zoom call with local reporters, junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson said Thursday he has yet to decide if he will declare for the 2021 NFL draft in the aftermath of the Big Ten's postponement of college football.

"That decision will be made in the future," Hutchinson said. "There are a lot of factors that go into it. Decisions will be made."

In his first season as a starter in 2019, Hutchinson emerged as one of the defense's top players, compiling 69 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six pass breakups and three forced fumbles. The former four-star prospect was named the No. 4 edge defender in Pro Football Focus' preseason rankings and was among Pro Football Focus' top-50 draft prospects.

"Hutchinson holds the crown of being the only defender to give Tristan Wirfs fits last season when he racked up seven pressures against Iowa," wrote PFF's Michael Renner. "The rising junior's versatile body (6-foot-6, 269 pounds) allows him to also kick inside and still produce."

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Two of Hutchinson's teammates, offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield and cornerback Ambry Thomas, have already declared for the draft following the Big Ten's postponement, while others like defensive end Kwity Paye and tight end Nick Eubanks are still weighing their options.

"Jalen made his decision," Hutchinson said. "I'm really happy for him. I hope that he's able to fulfill all his dreams and go in that first round, but for me, I still have some decisions to make."

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When asked further about his future, Hutchinson laid out several factors that he plans to consider in making his decision. The biggest appears to be the date of Michigan's next game: While the Big Ten announced it would try to play the season in the springspecific details have yet to be ironed out - and there remains the distinct possibility that the conference does not play until next fall. Conference officials are reportedly scouting domed stadiums in the event of games this upcoming winter.

"It all depends on when we play," Hutchinson said. "I've got to play football soon. If you count the years, it would be two years (since I last played) if our spring season gets canceled. I can't leave for the NFL without having played football for such a long time.

"So there are some factors that go into it. There's obviously some other ones that I'm not gonna name, but those were a couple of them."

Hutchinson has also consulted with other teammates - something that Eubanks previously alluded to when he recently told reporters that Michigan's NFL hopefuls could come to the same decision as a group.

"A lot of us are in a similar situation, some of us are," Hutchinson said. "So yeah, I have been talking to Nick, Kwity, Carlo (Kemp), guys like that; guys that could've used an extra season but are put in this tough situation. We're all just trying to make these decisions. I'm sure that they will all come with time. No one really knows what's going to happen right now.

"We're all just rolling with the punches."

For now, Hutchinson continues to practice with the Wolverines, who were granted 12 countable hours per week by the NCAA to conduct workouts and other activities. He's also preparing for a mock NFL combine that coach Jim Harbaugh plans to host in October.

"We're all practicing," Hutchinson said. "We're all getting better. That's all you can do right now."

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson remains undecided about 2021 NFL draft

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