UBC Football welcomes Greg Hutchins on December 16, 2015
Bedford’s Greg Hutchins has called it a day after one season kicking footballs at New Mexico State University.
But there’s no need to shed any tears for him.
The 18-year-old Hutchins has committed to the reigning CIS national champion UBC Thunderbirds, where he will play for former Saint Mary’s head coach Blake Nill. He will join the team in early January.
New Mexico State finished 3-5 in the Sun Belt Conference and 3-9 overall. They had a three-game winning streak at one point, signalling better prospects for next year.
“They will have to do it without me,” he said Thursday. “My big news is that I have decided to come back to Canada.
“I really look forward to working under Coach Nill. I think what he’s done winning a Vanier Cup in only a year is unbelievable, and I think the job he is doing with recruiting will have the team competitive for years.”
UBC has an all-Canadian kicker in Quinn van Gylswyk, who was a difference-maker for the Thunderbirds in their run to the Vanier Cup title last month.
However, van Gylswyk is a top CFL prospect and is likely to be in the pros in 2016.
“I’ll be joining the team Jan. 4, so I will have the chance to bond with the team over the off-season, and most importantly I will have an opportunity to work with Quinn van Gylswyk before he leaves for the CFL,” Hutchins said.
“He left some pretty big shoes to fill and I’m excited to be chosen by Coach Nill as his replacement.”
Said Nill: “We are very excited about the commitment.”
Hutchins said he enjoyed his season at the university and in the NCAA. He made lots of friends and received personal coaching from former Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Roy Gerela, a three-time Super Bowl winner.
Playing the season opener at Florida in September will remain in his memory. He had three punts that day for 107 yards.
He appeared in nine games overall, mostly as the holder for converts and field goals.
“I’ll never forget punting in front of more than 92,000 in the ‘Swamp’ with my mom in the crowd,” he said.
“I’m glad I gave it a try, but I think I will feel more at home and get the chance to thrive as both a kicker and punter at UBC and I’m really looking forward to playing for a winning team.”
Hutchins committed to the Carleton Ravens last year, but changed his mind to take his shot in the NCAA.
(Photo:Bedford’s Greg Hutchins (45) runs on to the field earlier this season as New Mexico State prepared to play Ole Miss-Chronicle Herald)