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Sam Hubbard talks future of Ohio State defense at NFL Combine

The Buckeye also talked about leading from past teammates and having bragging rights over Michigan.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As Ohio State’s 2017 football season neared the end, it seemed inevitable that Sam Hubbard would be declaring early for the NFL Draft, and likely earn an early-round draft pick. He spent the months since the Cotton Bowl training for his moment to shine at the 2018 NFL Combine.

The Buckeye spoke to media on Saturday and talked about how playing in Columbus prepared him for this moment, and what he sees for the future of defensive line without him. He was asked if he’s talked to any of his former teammate about next year’s Rushman package, and Hubbard seemed confident in the young Bucks.

I’m really close with Nick and I talk to him all the time. I’ve talked with Dre’Mont (Jones) about stepping up and becoming a leader and what he has to do. The D-line is in great hands. B.B. Landers. They’re in great position to have a great year. With coach Johnson leading that room, they’re capable of accomplishing anything.

The defensive end has reason to be confident in the guys coming up, they were part of the reason that the Buckeyes beat rival Michigan all four years of Hubbard’s career. It’s even given him some bragging rights around the training facility the past few months.

I trained around a bunch of Michigan guys. We have bragging rights. I never lost a game to them. I don’t really feel bad for the program that they’ve got angst or whatever. I know our guys are back at winter workouts thinking about beating them next year. Hopefully, we can continue in that.

It’s not just current Buckeyes that have helped prepare Sam Hubbard for the NFL. Having played alongside the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year and other players who have found success at the next level, helped develop the defensive end.

Yeah, it was incredible. I really credit that to why I learned the position so fast. Playing around guys like Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington and behind you having guys like Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan. It’s a special feeling when you’re out there and you have so many talented guys around you. It’s why it’s going to prepare me for the next level. I feel I already have had a taste of that at Ohio State.

Playing among that much talent has certainly limited Hubbard’s playing time and opportunity to bolster his stat-line. But being the consummate team-first guy, he isn’t worried about what the numbers say, and rather that the results and the game film speak for itself.

If you look at where it got us, we’re all here and we’re all in great position to play at the next level. That’s kind of the picture we had in our heads and what coach Johnson told us would happen. We had faith in that. Although we don’t have crazy numbers, it all worked out in the end and we’re here.

Hubbard has had a chance to play among the best, and also to lead the next generation of all-star defensive ends to come out of Ohio State. Now with the Combine under his belt, he’ll be able to focus on performing at pro day on March 22, and then hopefully be busy flying across the country to meet with teams ahead of April’s NFL Draft.