Xavier Hutchinson has been patiently waiting for his shot.
Hutchinson, 23, was a star wide receiver at Bartram Trail High School during its run to the state championship game in 2017. He burst onto the national scene in 2022 for Iowa State when he ranked third in the FBS with 107 catches, a school record, and earned first-team AP All-American honors.
But he hasn’t seen the field much since he was drafted by the Houston Texans in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL draft.
After veteran Texans wideout Noah Brown was placed on injured reserve in September, Hutchinson got his first catch against the Ravens, a first-down grab for 9 yards.
Over the next four games, the Jacksonville-born receiver didn’t make a catch, but he made the most of his moment on Sunday against the Jaguars, his hometown team.
Hutchinson made the longest catch in his short career against the Jaguars when he hauled in a 34-yard grab in the fourth quarter that helped set up a Texans touchdown and shrink the Texans deficit.
The Jaguars went on to win the big divisional game, but it likely won’t be the last time Hutchinson will see action for the Texans. At 6-foot-3, Hutchinson was a dual sport athlete at Bartram and played basketball and has shown the ability to high point the football over his career. He could provide a big target for emerging star Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud and see more targets as his team tries to make a run at the playoffs. His style differs from wide receiver Tank Dell, another Texans player who is looking like a star in the making.
Hutchinson has shown in the past he’s comfortable being patient and taking the path less traveled. He went to Blinn College, a junior college in Texas, for two years and was rated a top 10 wide receiver after winning first-team all-conference honors in 2019. After transferring to Iowa State, Hutchinson thrived in the spotlight of big-time college football.
“The journey was great for me,” Hutchinson told KPRC. “It taught me a lot of life lessons. It taught me to never give up on myself.”
According to his scouting report from NFL.com, he has the track record of a late bloomer but has always shown consistent improvement.
For now, Hutchinson is working to make an impact on special teams for the Texans as he tries to work into the regular wideout rotation.
Hutchinson was part of a record-breaking local draft class this year as one of eight area players to be selected.