By Maxpreps' Mitch Stephens:
It's a long and drawn out process for Top 100 football recruits to pick their college of choice.
When the nation's No. 100 recruit - De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) linebacker and tight end/running back Michael Hutchings - finally went through his long and cumbersome pro-and-con list, he decided on a college that most reminded him of where he is.
That school was USC.
Hutchings, a fast and hard-hitting 6-foot-2, 215-pound incoming senior, picked the Trojans Saturday over Pac-12 rivals Cal, Oregon and Washington.
"A lot went into the process, but it came down to the combination of academics and athletics," Hutchings said. "I talked with (Athletic Director) Pat Haden at length and he reminded me of the school's high standards and tradition. It reminded me a lot of where I'm attending now (De La Salle)."
Hutchings has been a starter on De La Salle's last two state Open Division championship teams. He had a chance to be reunited with his former teammate, fellow linebacker and good friend Michael Barton at Cal. Washington also was alluring, especially with former De La Salle standout Tosh Lupoi as an assistant coach and top recruiter.
And De La Salle has also had a long line of athletes contribute at Oregon.
But USC, with its terrific business department, and football coaching staff was too much for Hutchings to pass by, he said. Hutchings is the seventh Top 100 recruit from 2013 to commit to the Trojans, who should move up from its No. 5 team recruiting ranking.
"I went through my pro and con list and though it was a very hard decision, I'm certain this is the right place for me," Hutchings said. "I made my mind up a couple of weeks ago, but just last week I went back down and it re-affirmed everything. This is a giant weight off my shoulders. Now I can just focus on what we need to do at De La Salle."
De La Salle has finished as a top-10 team nationally the last two seasons in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. The Spartans open at No. 8 heading into 2012.