Even though the Buckeyes haven't offered as many players as the used to from the state of Ohio, it is still one of Urban Meyer and company's goals to keep the best of the best in the state of Ohio to play their college football for the Buckeyes.
Take a trip down memory lane and find out what kind of early impact he could have for the Buckeyes, as we bring you "Bucks to the Future", the Sam Hubbard story.
Weight: 225 pounds
247Sports Composite: Number ten athlete, seventh rated player in the state of Ohio, and 181st overall prospect in the 2014 class.
High School: Moeller High School, Cincinnati, Ohio
The recruiting process was unique for Sam Hubbard.
During his sophomore year of high school he committed to Notre Dame. Not for football though, as he planned on going to school in South Bend to play for the Fighting Irish lacrosse team.
He remained committed to the Fighting Irish lacrosse program through his junior football season, where he posted 80 tackles, seven of which came for loss, to go along with two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Colleges took notice of Hubbard's junior season and the athleticism he displayed with his 6'6, 225-pound frame playing the safety position. Just a couple of months after Moeller's football team capped a dominant 2012 season with a state championship, Hubbard scored offers from Ohio, Boston College, Illinois, and Miami. He also started to receive interest from Ohio State, Michigan Michigan State, Stanford, and others.
Near the end of February, Hubbard received a visit from Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. He then made his first recruiting trip to Columbus on March 5th, where he got to tour the campus, talk with the coaches, and see what the Ohio State football program was all about.
While an offer didn't come from the Scarlet and Gray on his first trip to Columbus, the standout defender continued to have quite a bit of contact with the Buckeye coaches following the conclusion of the trip.
In the couple of weeks following his unofficial visit to Ohio State, Hubbard picked up an offer from Louisville, then a big one from the Stanford Cardinal, a school Hubbard was very interested in. The offer probably made the Cardinal his leader, but that was short lived as he would go on to pick up an offer from Ohio State on March 21st. He also landed offers from Michigan State, Miami, and Michigan in the time between March 21st and his second trip to Columbus, which was scheduled for April 5.
After picking up offers from some of the top schools in college football, Hubbard decided his future was in football and not lacrosse, which led to him decomitting from Notre Dame. He told told me after he committed why he chose to play football over lacrosse:
It was a really early process. I committed to Notre Dame for lacrosse January of my sophomore year. Then I had a great junior season on the football field and started to get a lot of offers," Hubbard said. "Football has a much bigger stage. You're playing in front of 100,000 people, where in lacrosse, you're playing in front of about 2,000 people."
Going into his second Ohio State visit, many people thought he would leave Columbus committed to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. In fact, he told me just the day before his visit that he would probably be committing if things went according to plan.
Hubbard made the trip to Columbus and left committed to OSU just like he had planned to. Shortly after committing, Hubbard told me why he decided to become a member of the Ohio State football family:
I was previously committed to Notre Dame to play lacrosse, but after I talked to Coach Meyer and Coach Fickell and visited with my dad a couple of weeks ago, I knew this is where I wanted to be," Hubbard continued. "I just had to visit with my mom before deciding and my sister tagged along, too. We all had a great day in Columbus and I finished the day off by committing to Ohio State."
He added that Meyer was very excited about Hubbard pledging to the Buckeyes, even though the head coach had a pretty good idea that it was going to happen:
"I think he knew it was coming. My family had been telling him how much they loved Ohio State all day", Hubbard stated. "At the end of the visit I had a meeting with Coach Meyer in his office. He asked me what I thought of the visit and I told him I had made my decision and wanted to be a Buckeye. He stood up, gave me a hug, then we took a lot of pictures and looked around campus a little more."
At the time of his commitment, the Ohio State coaching staff told him he could end up at one of many different positions upon reaching the college level. Hubbard listed where he could fit in once arriving at Ohio State:
"The thing the coaches love about me is my versatility", he said. "They said they can see me at the 5-tech, player a little linebacker/safety hybrid (STAR), linebacker - if I gain enough weight - or even tight end."
He also had a message for Ohio State fans after he committed to the school:
I'd just like to say they're getting a guy who will do anything to win and also someone who will represent the school well.
Not much happened in Hubbard's recruitment from his commitment on out. He attended a camp at Ohio State, where he performed pretty well, and also attended a couple of games at Ohio State last fall, including the opener against Buffalo, where he sat with 2015 Buckeye target and fellow Cincinnati native, Justin Hilliard.
The highlight of Hubbard's fall was winning the Ohio Division I state championship for the second consecutive season, defeating Mentor, 55-52, in the final. He also beat one of his future teammates, Terry McLaurin, and his Indianapolis Cathedral team by a tally of 35-14 back in October in a showdown between two of the top high school programs in the Midwest (Cathedral went on to win the state title in the state of Indiana).
When he committed, he was told he could play any of defensive end, linebacker, "Star", and safety at the college level. Right before football season started, he found out that he would begin his Ohio State playing strong side linebacker.
His recruitment was capped off with an official visit to Ohio State on December 13th, where he had the opportunity to spend time with his future teammates, coaches, and spend time on the campus that he will call home in a couple of months.
Then finally about a month ago, Hubbard signed and faxed his letter of intent to Ohio State, officially becoming a Buckeye. He was the first player to fax his letter in on signing day. After signing, Hubbard had the following to say on what was the best part of the recruiting process in his mind:
"Just meeting all of the great people and exploring my future."
Hubbard will come to Columbus in June set to start his career at linebacker. Urban Meyer told reporters on National Signing Day that all four linebackers in the class, Hubbard, Raekwon McMillan, Kyle Berger, and Dante Booker Jr., need to be ready to play from day one because the team is thin there going into the 2014 football season.
"That's far too many mistakes have been made in either lack of development or whatever and it's just not where we need to be. So there's four linebackers been recruited Raekwon McMillan, Sam Hubbard, Kyle Berger and Dante Booker. Four guys I'm putting pressure on them Coach Fickell and myself to get ready for next year. They have to play for us, in addition to the players we have on our roster already."
"So just so everybody knows, there's no redshirt plans for those players at all. We thought about that during the recruiting process."
Meyer told CBS Sports in an interview on signing day that Hubbard one one of the guys he signed that he's the most excited about:
"I am so excited about him," the coach said. "I went down and he was a junior and was playing a dodgeball game. I was talking to his coach. For 20 minutes I am just watching him run around accelerating, playing a kids game. He was very much under the radar and was actually committed to Notre Dame for lacrosse. We just kept studying him. ... It became a no brainer to us. He was outstanding his senior year, another state championship. I was down there a couple of weeks ago and he was up to 230 pounds. There is no doubt he'll play for us next year unless something happens."
I think Hubbard has a legitimate shot at making the two deep, providing he performs well in fall camp. There's even a (way) outside chance that he could crack the starting lineup, but I can't put enough emphasis on how much of a long-shot that is as the Ohio State roster currently stands.
Also like I mentioned earlier, if for whatever reason Hubbard doesn't work out at the linebacker position, he could be a defensive end, play the "Star" position, or even make the move to offense to play tight end. All in all, I think Hubbard is going to be a very good linebacker for the Buckeyes. He has loads of upside.
Land-Grant Holy Land football analyst Christopher Jason had the following to say about the future Ohio State linebacker:
Hubbard is an excellent athlete who played safety in high school at 6'5, 225 pounds. He moves very well for his size and projects to play outside linebacker at Ohio State. His safety experience allows him to play the pass very well and could be used against bigger tight ends. He could play strong safety on obvious run situations or in the red zone. Hubbard has an excellent skill set and body type which will give the coaching staff multiple options on where to put him. I wouldn't count out him playing some tight end too if needed.
It will be exciting to watch Hubbard's development over the course of his career in Columbus.
Obligatory GIF, Highlights
Did you know...
- Hubbard won two consecutive state championships as a member of the Moeller football team.
- Despite his size, he played safety in high school, but as mentioned, will be moving to linebacker at the next level.