When Sadarius Hutcherson first arrived on campus in 2016, fellow freshman Chandler Farrell thought he was a wide receiver.
Hutcherson, from Huntingdon, Tenn., was a 240-pound tight end and defensive end. But in his first year on campus, he gained more than 75 pounds and started four games on the offensive line as a redshirt freshman.
“I have a picture of Hutch from the first week we showed up on campus together and it’s unbelievable. The guy looks like he should play wide receiver, and now he’s just a house,” Farrell said. “It’s really impressive to see the strides he has made.”
Hutcherson has transformed himself into one of the top offensive linemen in the SEC. At 6-4, 320 pounds, the two-year starter has moved to left tackle and caught the eye of NFL scouts.
“The amount of weight and muscle he has put on is insane,” center Hank Manos said. “I think that gets him on the freak list.”
Hutcherson — or “Hutch” to his teammates — is also a freak in the weight room. Widely regarded as the strongest player on the team, his feats of strength have become legendary. During the offseason, he bench-pressed 225 pounds 38 times. He was so dominant on the power clean and squat test that he bent the weight bar.
“He is the strongest guy on the team, hands down,” senior linebacker T.J. Brunson said. “He’s one of those people who gets in the weight room and he transforms.”
“He is outrageously strong,” Farrell said. “You just take one step into that weight room any day of the week and you will see it. The guy throws just ungodly amounts on the bar in any exercise and he will just crush it like it’s not even there.”
Hutcherson was a freakish athlete in high school. He dominated at defensive end, played tight end on offense and was a dunking machine on the basketball court. When he arrived at South Carolina, coaches viewed him as a potential star on the offensive line because of his strength and athleticism.
But to become that kind of player, he had to gain a ton of weight. Under the guidance of Nutrition Director Kristin Coggin, Hutcherson eats six meals a day. Breakfast starts with three eggs, three pieces of bacon and three sausages. Snacks between meals consists of two or three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
His eating habits are as legendary as his feats of strength.
Donell Stanley, who often cooks for his teammates on the offensive line, took Hutcherson home with once for a cook out and seafood boil. Hutcherson ate everything he could get his hands on.
“Ten minutes later, he was like, ‘I’ve got to fix me a sandwich,’” Stanley said with a laugh. “If Sadarius is eating with you, you have to have thirds and fourths.”
Hutcherson’s growth at the table and in the weight room is an example of his commitment to become one of the best offensive linemen in the nation and help set an example for his teammates.
“He's just a guy that's worked extremely hard and has completely bought in to the nutrition part of what you've got to do to be successful,” Muschamp said. “He’s completely bought in to the weight room. We're expecting a big year out of Hutch."
“It all started just by staying committed to my eating habits and just staying in the weight room and staying in the playbook and trying to get better at one thing every day,” Hutcherson said. “It was tough for the first month but it all got easier once I started seeing results, and I just kinda fell in love with it.”
Stanley, who has been Hutcherson’s mentor the past three years, believes his roommate and best friend is on the verge of being a star.
“His mental game is so much better than when he first got here,” he said. “He’s running meetings with me, he’s answering questions. He’s developed into a great offensive lineman.”
Now “Hutch” will move to the all-important left-tackle position, replacing two-year starter Dennis Daley, who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Stanley, who will play left guard, believes Hutcherson has what it takes to protect quarterback Jake Bentley’s blind side.
“He’s got all the intangibles you need to play left tackle,” he said. “He’s quick on his feet, he’s got some good power and a good anchor, and that’s what folks at the next level are looking for.”