De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
linebacker Michael Hutchings
is the Bay Area's No. 1 recruit playing for Northern California's No. 1 squad, and next season he's committed to play for USC, currently the nation's No. 1 college team.
Hutchings needs another hand to wave around all those index fingers.
But the 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior said he needs only a pair of eyeballs - and a video player - to keep him grounded and humble.
That and his parents and coaches.
"Watching game film helps me to see the big picture," Hutchings said. "It shows every mistake, and everything major and minor I need to work on."
There's not much tinkering Hutchings needs to do. The third-year starter hits like a tank and uses 4.6-second 40-yard speed to pursue like a big wildcat.
He follows a long line of standout linebackers at De La Salle, such as Denver Bronco D.J. Williams, Kevin Simon and Michael Barton, now at Cal.
Hutchings' challenge this season is to be a leader like his good friend Barton, whom he called Tuesday night for some advice heading into the season.
The Spartans, ranked eighth nationally, travels to San Jose City College to take on Northern California's No. 2 squad, Bellarmine (San Jose, Calif.)
. Last year, Bellarmine had to just make an extra point to break De La Salle's now 223-game Northern California unbeaten streak. Instead De La Salle pulled out the game 26-23 in overtime.
So what did Hutchings ask Barton about?
"I just asked for some tips," Hutchings said. "As a junior and sophomore, my job was to just make plays. And now there's a bunch of us who need to be leaders verbally and by example. (Barton) told me to just set the bar and the others would follow."
The Spartans need a spark, Hutchings said. They didn't scrimmage particularly well two weeks ago, and only in the last few days have practices picked up.
They haven't lost to a NorCal opponent since 1991, going 221-0-2 in that span. But Bellarmine clearly had them on the ropes last season.
The Bells lost in the final seconds of the 2011 State Division I Bowl 42-37 to Santa Margarita-Rancho Santa Margarita (Orange County), which is ranked No. 4 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25.
"They have a great program," Hutchings said of Bellarmine. "They're like us in that they're not the biggest guys but they grind and really get after it."
Bellarmine's top-ranked recruit hasn't taken a varsity snap. K.J. Carta-Samuels
- a 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior quarterback - has already committed to Vanderbilt, where his older brother Austyn plays behind starting QB Jordan Rodgers, the little brother of Green Bay Packers and former Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Bellarmine also features strong safety Kenneth Olugbode
(6-1, 185), who has committed to San Jose State.
"I've seen (Carta-Samuels) on film, and he's not over-rated at all," Hutchings said. "He's big and mobile and athletic."
Hutchings said "he's 100 percent" committed to joining USC even though the Trojans have told him it's fine to take recruiting trips elsewhere. "I know some kids do that, but I don't see a need," he said. "I know where I want to go."
E-mail MaxPreps senior columnist Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MitchMashMaxWatch more videos of De La Salle football