Ole Miss’ struggles along the offensive line this season have not been lost on Ethan Hutson, the No. 2 ranked center in the country according to Rivals.com, who hails from Destrehan, La.Having been to the Vanderbilt and Auburn games in Oxford, and with keeping up with the Rebels on a regular basis, the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Hutson has taken note of the number of young offensive linemen that have received playing time this year for Ole Miss.
Asked what that means to him, Hutson said he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it all.
“It would be a great opportunity to play and start, but also I understand the value of the redshirt year,” he said.
With graduating early and enrolling at Ole Miss in January, Hutson hopes to have a better understanding of where he’ll fit in on the team.
“Going through the spring and getting in the classes instead of being a freshman that comes in with the rest of the freshmen (is an advantage),” he said. “I get a couple extra months and I get to go through spring football.
“I’m excited about getting up there.”
Hutson’s early verbal commitment — he committed to the Rebels in June — has helped to fend off other schools from attempting to flip the standout.
After initially being courted by numerous institutions, Hutson, who has played left guard, left tackle and right guard for the Wildcats, said the calls have cooled.
“At the beginning of the season a lot of schools were still on me pretty hard, but now they’ve laid off,” he said.
In addition to saving himself a spot in the Rebels’ recruiting class, committing early also has other advantages.
“It has made things easier because you don’t have to worry about too many phone calls when you’re doing homework or anything,” he said.
Playing along the offensive line at a dominant level is nothing new in the Hutson household.
Hutson’s father, Mark, was a two-time All-American at Oklahoma and is currently the offensive line coach at Tulane.
Was Mark Hutson upset his son chose another school rather than the Green Wave?
“He told me from Day 1 to go where I wanted to go and he never tried to sway me from one team to the other,” Ethan Hutson said.
Perhaps it’s in part because of Hutson’s pedigree that he was selected to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Game.
“I’ve been selected to play for the West team. They told me in the summer, but you’re not supposed to tell anybody because of the announcement tour they do,” said Hutson, who officially went public with his selection on Thursday. “I’m pretty excited. The thing is, I live in Louisiana on the east side of the Mississippi River. I don’t understand why I have to play for the West. I’ll be going up against all of my (future) teammates.”
Playing on a team that is currently 3-7 and unlikely to make the playoffs, Hutson said he understands the woes the Rebels are currently going through. He also has hope that things will turn around sooner rather than later.
“This year was a down year, but back-to-back Cotton Bowl wins don’t happen for no reason,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll be right back there soon.”
Hutson plans to attend the Egg Bowl later this month as his official visit.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article ran in the Nov. 5 GAMEDAY Football insert.) (November 8, 2010)