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Hutson’s dedication pays off in final season

| Friday, November 9, 2018

Brandon Hutson, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive lineman from Battle Creek, Michigan, dreamed of playing for Notre Dame as a kid. One could say he was destined for it, given his heritage. His father, Tim, had a solid collegiate career as a first baseman for the Fighting Irish baseball team.

Ann Curtis | The Observer

Irish senior defensive lineman Brandon Hutson walks along the sideline during Notre Dame’s 38-17 win over Stanford on Sep. 29 at Notre Dame Stadium.

“My dad went here, so I grew up going to games, and I always told people that I wanted to play here,” Hutson said.

The senior’s passion for Notre Dame runs incredibly deep, so much so that he turned down signing with Air Force to walk-on here.

“I had to walk on here. I got recruited by some other schools, but I always wanted to play here, and I had an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on, so I couldn’t turn that down … its where I always wanted to be,” Hutson said.

It hasn’t always been easy. Hutson had to switch from playing linebacker to defensive line during his time at Notre Dame, and says that, as a walk-on, “it’s gonna be a tougher fight typically.” At the same time, he says it’s all worth it in the end.

“It’s been a great experience too, it hasn’t been all hard … I’ve taken a lot, just from being with all these great people on the team.” Hutson said. “The [defensive units] are actually very different. The D-line is a lot more like joking around and stuff and a lot more fun you could say, and the linebackers are a lot more about business … it’s been a cool experience to be with both of them.”

Despite not seeing any action through his first three seasons, Hutson persevered.

“You definitely start at the bottom, but … once you’re on the team, you can do whatever you’re capable of doing, and they’ll give you a shot … you just gotta keep fighting,” he said.

All that fighting paid off in playing time this year, although Hutson admits that he experienced some nerves when he finally got on the gridiron.

“[The} first couple of plays out there and you’re pretty nervous, cause I haven’t really played in a football game in like three years, and you got the crowd and everything … but once I got back in the rhythm of things, it’s just great to just be out there playing again, which has really been the best part of it, just being out there with the guys and being able to contribute,” Huston said.

His favorite memory from Notre Dame was “being out there for the first play against Stanford on a kick-off.” That was an even more emotional moment, as he described how, “It was a big game … you got the song before the game … I took a moment to take that in like, ‘this is pretty cool.’” During the Stanford game, he posted his first career tackle, then posted another the next game at Virginia Tech.

Brandon, a marketing major, doesn’t have any firm post-Notre Dame plans, but he has confidence that his experience here will benefit him down the road.

“I don’t have anything ironed out yet. [Notre Dame has] been a dream come true for me, but it’s also been a lot of work … all these workouts, not knowing if its ever going to pay off on the field just sticking with everything, I think it’s made me tougher and given me a bit of an edge. I think I’ll be able to take that work ethic with me.”

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