Former Mattoon standout to start at third base in ISU season opener
Former Mattoon baseball and academic standout Ryan Hutchinson has earned the starting spot at third base for Illinois State University (ISU) when the team opens the 2016 season at Belmont University in Nashville.
In high school, Hutchinson was part of a team that set three consecutive semester grade point average records, posting a combined 3.23 GPA. Hutchinson, a sophomore at ISU, enrolled in August 2014 and was redshirted last season due to a thumb injury.
“The first thing you need to know about Ryan is that he is an extremely intelligent individual," Bo Durkac, head coach at ISU recently told the East Central Reporter. "In terms of what he did in high school with his ACT scores and his GPA, he might be one of the smartest kids I have ever had the privilege to recruit or coach. I think he ended up with a 32 ACT score and that’s up there. That’s as high (as) I’ve seen for guys that have entered a program that I’ve been a part of.”
Hutchinson has brawn as well, and it comes from a tremendous gene pool. His father played baseball and basketball at Millikin; his sister played softball and volleyball at Eastern Illinois; and his mother coaches high school volleyball.
At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 pounds, “he can run, has a tremendous body, and is very strong in the weight room,” Durkac said.
“He [also] has a rocket for an arm," Durkac said. "So when you combine those mental faculties with his physical capabilities, you have, on the surface, what looks to be a pretty good combination for a baseball player. Right now he’s our primary third baseman. He was with us last year, but he hurt his thumb (and) hasn’t had an at-bat in the Division I level. It will be interesting to see what a kid with that size and speed and athleticism does against Division I pitching and competition.”
Hutchinson returns to a team that includes 11 seniors, so it is not quite time for him to assume a leadership role. But Durkac says, in addition to his physical ability, he is does everything right off the field and in the classroom. He expects Hutchinson to transition nicely into the big-time college game.
As a sophomore Hutchinson is taking many of the basic classes, but his coach sees unlimited career potential.
“He’s the kind of guy who, when it’s all said and done, may go to law school or medical school someday," Durkac said. "I haven’t talked to him about his long-term goals, but I do know that he is bright, he is motivated and he’s the kind of kid that has what it takes to be a success in life."