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Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the expected No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL draft, announced Wednesday that he will leave the Wolverines program to become a professional.
Hutchinson was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2021, becoming the third defender to finish in second place in award history. He was also a consensus All-American and Lombardi Award winner, given to the top lineman in the nation.
“My Michigan heritage is complete, and it really was the best time of my life,” Hutchinson said in one statement sent to Twitter on Wednesday. “On and up to the 2022 NFL draft. Thank you for everything, Wolverine nation and beyond.”
In his post, Hutchinson also highlighted the importance of Michigan taking an eight-game losing streak to Ohio State this season.
“I spent years visualizing the actual moments that unfolded in my final season in Michigan,” he said. “November 27, 2021 was 10 years in the making and could not have been a more unforgettable evening with my brothers. They proved with me time and time again this season that nothing is impossible and 2% is still 2%. I want to relive the glorious moments for the rest of my life, and forever be grateful to my team for helping to provide all we had. “
In 2021, Hutchinson recorded 62 total tackles, including 16.5 tackles for losses, and 14 sacks, which was a Michigan record for a single season. Hutchinson also deflected three passes, forced two fumbles and regained one.
Hutchinson passed the Oregon Ducks DE Kayvon Thibodeaux to the No. 1 overall spot in the latest draft rankings by ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.