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Irvine resident has big plans for the future

Matthew Hutnyan, a 5-8, 170-pound 12-year-old, recently played at Cowboy Stadium for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.

January 14, 2012|By Joe Haakenson, Special to the Daily Pilot
  • Matthew Hutnyan, an Irvine resident, is a standout football player and also sports a 4.0 grade-point average.
Matthew Hutnyan, an Irvine resident, is a standout football…

While many kids his age are trying to figure out which video game to put into the Xbox, Matthew Hutnyan is thinking on a much bigger scale.

Hutnyan lives in Irvine and is a 12-year-old seventh grader at Red Hill Lutheran in Tustin. But he is anything but your average middle schooler. He stands out among his peers, literally, at 5 feet 8, 170 pounds, and also boasts a 4.0 grade-point average.

An academic scholarship is a goal of Hutnyan's after his four years of high school at Orange Lutheran. But he's also on a course that could lead to an athletic scholarship.

Hutnyan, an offensive lineman, recently finished up his season with the Irvine Chargers in Junior All-American Football, then went on to participate on the Offense-Defense football camp at Chapman University, from which he was selected to participate in last month's Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, a weeklong event in Texas.

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Those selected from camps across the country got to practice together for a week, then play a game in Cowboy Stadium against a team from another region.

"It was a huge honor for me, especially since I wanted to do it last year but I wasn't picked," said Hutnyan, who also played defensive end. "This year, I was very, very happy, very excited to be able to play in an NFL stadium. It was also kind of nerve wracking, but overall it was a great experience."

Hutnyan also said it was "cool" to meet some of the top young football players from across the country in the hopes that some day they'll meet again on a much bigger stage. For now, Hutnyan is remaining focused on his academics and athletics in middle school, and in a couple of years when he starts high school. But he can't help but think beyond that.

"I haven't thought that much ahead, but I started thinking about it more this year," he said. "I've always like Ohio State, and I also like Stanford, mostly because of the academics. And they also have an OK football team. This year they were good.

"I'd like to get a football scholarship or an academic scholarship, and I'd definitely like to play football at a higher level."

Hutnyan was one of the top players at the All-American Bowl, getting the rare chance to play against kids his own age. In Junior All-American Football, he's had to play with older kids because of his size. And it's his size that makes him a natural for the offensive line, something he's come to enjoy.

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