Michigan football's Aidan Hutchinson eager to beat ex-roommate, MSU's Ben VanSumeren

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Aside from the obvious renewal of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, Saturday’s game at Spartan Stadium is littered with fascinating subplots.

The U-M cornerbacks against the MSU wide receivers following last year’s air raid in Ann Arbor. Mel Tucker rebuilding the Spartans while the possibility of his departure looms. Jim Harbaugh rebuilding the Wolverines while he does everything he can to stay. The right to remain undefeated in pursuit of a berth in the Big Ten title game and, potentially, the College Football Playoff.

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Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson added another layer Tuesday when asked about his relationship with former U-M linebacker Ben VanSumeren, who entered the transfer portal in mid-February and committed to MSU a week later. He's appeared in all seven games for the Spartans this season and played 92 snaps on defense with seven tackles.

Michigan State's Jayden Reed, left, returns a punt for a touchdown as teammate Ben VanSumeren (13) blocks against Western Kentucky during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich.
Michigan State's Jayden Reed, left, returns a punt for a touchdown as teammate Ben VanSumeren (13) blocks against Western Kentucky during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich.

The former Essexville Garber standout arrived in Ann Arbor as a three-star recruit in the class of 2018, a group headlined by Hutchinson. VanSumeren played mostly fullback and special teams during his first two years at Michigan before converting to linebacker ahead of the 2020 season. He appeared in six games and made two starts at linebacker while recording seven tackles that year.

And then he left.

“We were living together at that point, too,” Hutchinson said of VanSumeren’s departure. “So it was a little weird. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t talk to him a whole lot anymore. I hope he’s doing well.”

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VanSumeren’s younger brother, Alex, is a four-star defensive tackle ranked among the top 180 players nationally and the No. 3 prospect in Michigan, according to 247Sports. Alex VanSumeren received a scholarship offer from U-M in November 2019 and gave a verbal commitment to the Wolverines one month later.

His pledge lasted until Feb. 11, 2021, the day before Ben entered the transfer portal. Alex decommitted just as his older brother began searching for a new school.

Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) rushes the quarterback as Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Logan Bruss (60) blocks during the third quarter Oct. 2, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.
Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) rushes the quarterback as Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Logan Bruss (60) blocks during the third quarter Oct. 2, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.

Within days, new scholarship offers flooded in for Alex: Illinois, Boston College, Oregon, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Clemson in the span of a week. The next wave included Nebraska, Auburn, Indiana, West Virginia and Northwestern, among others. He maintained preexisting scholarship offers from the likes of Michigan State, Penn State, Alabama and Arkansas.

Free from his promise to U-M, Alex took official visits to MSU, Penn State, Northwestern and Texas A&M in June. He committed to the Spartans at the end of July to follow in his brother's footsteps.

This weekend, Ben and Hutchinson will see each other Saturday in East Lansing. Just another layer of intrigue to a highly anticipated matchup.

“Hopefully I’ll — I don’t want to say anything,” Hutchinson said before starting again. “Hopefully on Saturday, we will get the win so he can feel bad that he transferred.”

Contact Michael Cohen at mcohen@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Cohen13. Send questions for his next U-M mailbag.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football's Aidan Hutchinson eager to beat ex-roommate