USC Football: Michael Hutchings Opts Out of NFL Pursuit

January 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans linebacker Michael Hutchings (19) reacts after defensive back Leon McQuay III (22) intercepts a pass against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half of the 2017 Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
January 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans linebacker Michael Hutchings (19) reacts after defensive back Leon McQuay III (22) intercepts a pass against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half of the 2017 Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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USC linebacker Michael Hutchings opted not to pursue a future in the NFL, explaining his reasons in an essay on USC’s RipsIt Blog.

There was a noticeable absence from USC football’s Pro Day two weeks ago. Adoree’ Jackson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Zach Banner, Chad Wheeler, Quinton Powell and others were on hand to show off in front of NFL Scouts.

Michael Hutchings was not among them. Now we know why.

“I knew that my NFL chances were slim to none, so I just played my odds and decided to pursue another profession that motivates me,” Hutchings wrote on USC’s RipsIt Blog on Tuesday.

In USC’s own version of The Players’ Tribune, Hutchings explained his decision to pursue a future in commercial real estate investment instead of football.

In fact, he’d already made that decision before the year’s end, accepting a job offer midway through the 2016 season.

With the pressure off, he thrived.

“It could not have worked out any better. My final college tackle was 3rd-and-4 in the Rose Bowl, stopping Saquon Barkley in the backfield, and forcing a punt that led to the game-tying drive,” Hutchings wrote. “To go out as a captain, win the Rose Bowl and just the season we had, it was a dream.”

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Now Hutchings says he plans to take some time to travel before beginning his professional life this summer.

He intends to stay connected to the USC football program, following in the footsteps of Hayes Pullard and Devon Kennard, who passed knowledge down to him.

“You want guys to look back and say, ‘This guy really helped me a lot.’ ” Hutchings wrote. “Whether it is something small or something huge, on the field or off the field, I just want them to be able to take one thing from me.”

Hutchings’ teammates vouch for the fact that he’s walking that walk.

“Mike’s still a leader, so I feel like I still take notes from him,” said John Houston, Hutchings’ indirect replacement at linebacker, earlier this spring. “He tells me different keys every day I see him. Coming after him is one of the best things I could do.”

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Others still feel Hutchings’ influence as well.

“Those guys being able to be behind Mike and learn from him makes it a lot better for our whole defense,” outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu said. “I really feel that on the field in communicating — them talking, them inspiring guys. I really appreciate that.”

Hutchings’ wrote that he wanted to set an example for the people who come after him.

That’s exactly what he’s done.