With so much uncertainty surrounding the Michigan Football program, Aidan Hutchinson provided fans with some very good news by announcing his intention to return for the 2021 season. Hutchinson’s 2020 season came to an early end after he suffered a leg fracture just three games into the season against Indiana, delivering a significant blow to the Michigan defense. It was also a devastating reality for Hutchinson, particularly when considering the fact that he helped lead the effort to fight for a Big Ten fall football season.
Hutchinson’s return is critical for a Michigan defense that struggled mightily throughout the 2020 campaign, finishing No. 87 in the nation in total defense - the worst of the Harbaugh era. The Wolverines are also extremely thin up front and will need to replace Kwity Paye at defensive end, Michigan’s only defensive player to earn all-conference honors for the 2020 season. To make matters more complicated, Michigan is now looking to hire a new defensive coordinator after the firing of Don Brown earlier this month.
There are still significant questions that will need to be answered for Michigan’s defense prior to the 2021 season, but the importance of Hutchinson’s return cannot be overstated. Put simply, it's big.