During his junior college days at Blinn College, Xavier Hutchinson sampled plenty of Blue Bell ice cream. His favorite flavor?
"Cookies and cream, for sure," Hutchinson said, laughing.
But his days at JuCo were bittersweet too, Hutchinson's dream was to play in the NFL.
"It really just think it put a chip on my shoulder," he said. "I was never satisfied with just being, okay or good, you know. Always wanted to be great and it's always been my dream since I was five years old. I know everybody says that, but just to be able to play on an NFL team, to have the opportunity to impact them in a great way has always been my dream."
On Saturday, Hutchinson's dream came true. The Houston Texans drafted the Iowa State wide receiver in the sixth round with the 205th pick. Hutchinson (6-2, 203) had the third-most catches in the FBS (107) and the seventh most yards (1,171) in 2022, adding six receiving touchdowns. Hutchinson's greatest strength lies in his relentless ability to make plays after the catch.
"I really think just being able to put the ball in my hands, my YAC ability," he said. "It's nothing pretty, but I fight for yards. I'm not willing to go down easy and also just feel like my contested catches and my versatility. I can play out wide, I can play in the slot, whatever the team needs me to do. I feel like that's what I can bring to a team very well."
After two years at Blinn, Hutchinson excelled and transferred to Iowa State where he earned All-Big 12 honors and Conference Newcomer of the Year. He led the Cyclones with 64 receptions for 771 receiving yards (with four receiving touchdowns) in 12 starts.
"Hutchinson was kind of a player that stood out to us here a little bit," Texans General Manager Nick Caserio said Saturday. "So here's a guy, Iowa State, highly productive. You go back and look at his production, and I would say, I don't know, he had 100 catches last year, the year before, whatever it was. Good size. Good toughness. Really good with the ball in his hands, great practice player. I would say this is a classic example of a guy whose workout didn't go great, but he's a good football player, so he kind of falls into that bucket. It's a player the offensive staff thought highly of."
The Biletnikoff Award finalist led the Big 12 in receptions for three consecutive seasons and was selected as a first-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Conference in the Big 12.
The Texans traded up to get the pick that brought Hutchinson to Houston. The Texans acquired a sixth-rounder (205th overall) from Buffalo in exchange for a seventh-round choice (230th overall) and a 2024 sixth-rounder, which originally came in a trade with Dallas.