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January 16, 2013

Cutler is looking forward to the next steps

On the night that three-star Ocean Lakes quarterback Corwin Cutler found out that he had been chosen to the Virginia High School Coaches Association All State first team, his measured excitement wasn't a sign of cockiness or indifference.

It was more about his own mindset than anything else.

The 6-foot-3, 182-pound Cutler, who committed to UVa last summer, isn't someone who cares too much about personal accolades. That is the reason why those around him are more concerned about star rankings and post-season recognitions than Cutler himself. Instead, he is too busy being a teenager working toward something, someone who rarely puts time and effort into things that don't matter too much.

On this day, the fact that he reached a major milestone in his rehab from the knee injury that prematurely ended his senior season was much more important than what the VHSCA or anyone else had to say.

"I do this for my family," he told CavsCorner on Tuesday night. "I do this for my mom and dad. I do this for my brother because he can't anymore."

In the wake of the death of his 17-year old brother Jaylin last year, Cutler devoted himself even more to his craft. His Ocean Lakes squad proved to be a juggernaut in his senior season but the torn ACL and MCL ruined his own part of the team's playoff run. To that point, he had thrown for more than 2,200 yards and 30 TDs on the year.

"He wanted to play quarterback and so I dedicate myself to everything because of him," Cutler said of his late brother. "I'm just thankful that I have had this opportunity, even if the season didn't end the way I wanted it to end. If I work for it, the future is right there."

Cutler finished with 51 touchdowns at the high school level and passed for 4,635 yards in his career, good enough for top 15 all-time in south Hampton Roads. And now, after having being able to reach a full range of motion on the bike, his knee is healing and his mind is making plans.

As he prepares for his official visit to Charlottesville this weekend, Cutler is now focused on the next stage of his life and his playing career.

"I want to be able to meet and spend more time with all of the coaches," he said. "This will be a great chance for me to get to know the players on the team more. I know a lot of the recruits but the players are the ones I want to get to know better."

Virginia's coaching staff will be different than the last time he saw the Cavaliers. Head coach Mike London parted ways with four coaches after the end of the 2012 season. But Cutler's lead recruiter (Chip West) and offensive coordinator and QBs coach (Bill Lazor) remain. Still, things will be different and Cutler says he's looking forward to knowing and seeing more.

"I look at this as a chance for me to get even more of a look at how things work up at UVa," he said. "The new coaches and what they do and how everybody in the UVa family works, basically."

Cutler will be one of 19 recruits who will be on visits to Virginia this weekend. Personally, he says he's looking forward to reconnecting with two other commits: three-star receiver Zack Jones and three-star defensive tackle Donta Wilkins.

"With Zack, he's one of my good friends so I'm definitely looking forward to hanging out with him," Cutler explained. "And with Donta, I got to hang out with him at the Chesapeake Bowl and he's a really cool guy. I'm hoping we get to spend more time together this weekend."

Wilkins is one of three commits, along with four-star cornerback Tim Harris and three-star safety Malcolm Cook, that have talked publicly about taking official visits beyond this weekend. Meanwhile, many agree that Cutler possesses one of the personalities that coaches love to have among a big group of commits.

Is he planning to do some recruiting for the Wahoos this weekend?

"I'll do whatever I need to do," Cutler said with a laugh before adding, "I don't think he'll switch it up" of Wilkins and his potential visit to North Carolina next weekend.

As someone who has already been through a lot at a young age, how is it that Cutler is able to still be this bright, vibrant personality that people just feel comfortable around?

"It's a struggle sometimes, I'm not going to lie," he said. "But I always keep my eyes up. Kind of like playing quarterback, you know. I lean on my family. I want to show them who I can be. First one in my family to go to college, that's big.

"I know my goals and whether it's now or down the line because I got hurt, whatever, I'm going to ball out for my family. I'm going to be the person I am no matter what."

Though he's been through a lot emotionally, his physical trials with his knee injury haven't been nearly as bad as people told him.

"I didn't think about it until it was done," Cutler said of achieving that full range of motion. "And so many people told me the rehab and workouts were going to hurt so bad, you know. And they haven't been that bad at all.

"But I guess that's just the way I am," he said.


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