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"Make a play": Rookie WR Xavier Hutchinson attacking camp


Xavier Hutchinson is making a name for himself this training camp in two distinct ways: by making plays and by doing all the extra work to make himself valuable.

The rookie receiver was a first-team All-American last autumn for Iowa State, and the Texans picked him in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in April. He's consistently come up with catches throughout camp, and made a favorable impression on head coach DeMeco Ryans.

"'Hutch' has shown up…a lot," Ryans said. "Shown up on some big plays down the field. Big, physical receiver. Excited to see him continue to work and improve what he's doing."

Each day after practice, he's one of the last players to leave the Houston Methodist Training Center field. Hutchinson has made time to run extra routes, catch balls on the JUGS machine and do extra drills to make him better as a special-teamer, too.

"I'm just trying to become versatile," Hutchinson said. "I really want to create a lot of options for myself on the team in whichever way they want me to help."

Fellow rookie pass-catcher Tank Dell has noticed the work ethic, and the versatility.

"He's willing to work wherever you put him," Dell said. "He moves around from x, z to f, everywhere. Wherever you want to put him, he's ready and he's willing to work to. Coming in strong-minded, ready to work and getting in the playbook."

The young receiver credits the team's most experienced quarterback for easing any worries about whether or not he belonged.  

"It was really when Case Keenum and some of the quarterbacks started believing in me, started throwing the ball a little bit more my way," Hutchinson said. "That really just gave me confidence."

Hutchinson, who snared 107 passes for 1,171 yards last season, has been praised for his ability to come down with contested catches. He's been able to take advantage of his 6-3, 205-pound frame.

"The biggest thing for him is just going up and winning, being really strong with his hands, going out and attacking the ball," quarterback Davis Mills said. "He's one of those guys who is going to work himself to get opportunities and you can trust him to go up and win those 50-50 balls."

Hutchinson explained his simple plan of attack in training camp.

"I'm really just trying to stay consistent for the team, just trying to gain the trust of the coaches and the players and the quarterbacks," Hutchinson said. "So whenever the ball comes to me, it's an opportunity to make a play and just prove more and more who I am as a player."

Hutchinson and the Texans will practice Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Houston Methodist Training Center.

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