Tired of Ohio State recruiting classes that get off to a slow start, carrying into summer with single digit commits? Want some more excitement in the recruiting world? I’ve got just the class for you, because Ohio State is on a tear in the 2020 cycle. After landing Jake Wray back in April, Ohio State has gone nuclear since late-June, adding five massive commitments in a class that won’t sign for another year and a half.
Just minutes ago, they went back to the well, and picked up what could be one of two or three running backs in the class, as Chaparral (Scottsdale, Az.) back Darvon Hubbard announced his commitment on Twitter. Hubbard is a familiar name for Buckeye fans for good reason, because he’s been a huge target for months.
Hubbard is also a teammate of four-star Buckeye quarterback commit Jack Miller. They’re very good friends, and wanted to play college football together. It took a couple of weeks, but Hubbard bought into that, and will join his quarterback in college. To get him locked up so early is such a huge deal that it really cannot be overstated. What makes Hubbard such a big prospect? Let’s explore.
On the field
If you were to create the ideal running back for Ohio State’s offense in a lab, he’d probably look a lot like Darvon Hubbard. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Hubbard isn’t a massive back, but he’s not small by any means either. He’s a tough, physical runner, with the ability to run up the middle, find space outside, or even do damage in the passing game. That’s exactly what Ohio State wants.
Continuing in the line of running backs like Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Weber, J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague, Hubbard already looks like a college running back, despite not starting his junior year of high school until this fall. He’s got elite strength, and his frame still has potential to add about 15 more pounds of muscle.
On top of that potential for growth, Hubbard already has great fundamentals as a back, and is one of the more developed backs I’ve seen at such a young age. As a sophomore in high school, Hubbard was already running with great pad level, keeping his hips low to the ground and exploding out on cuts.
Hubbard isn’t just a grind it out, power-back though. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he’s more than capable of breaking into the second level and picking up big yards. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a Elliott-level big-play threat, but he reminds me a lot of Mike Weber coming out of high school.
Like Weber, I think Hubbard could improve his top-end speed at the next level, and if he does, he has serious pro-potential. He’s not going to make his living with his elusiveness or juking ability though. He’s capable of making defenders miss, but you’ll never see him doing a Saquon Barkley impression. Hubbard has no interest in dancing around, and wants to get downhill as soon as possible.
The main things that Hubbard really needs to focus on are, like I mentioned, the top-end speed and elusiveness. He’s not going to be able to run everyone over, and improving his footwork, especially in tight spaces, would go a long way towards making him a more complete back. With his foundation, strength, effort level and talent, however, I have no doubt that he’ll continue improving.
In the class
Hubbard is the sixth member of Ohio State’s 2020 class. He’s the first running back, but like I said, I think he’ll be joined by at least one or two more by the time everyone signs. My guess is that Michael Drennan is the next back in the class, which could really happen any time now, and Demarkcus Bowman finishes the group sometime next fall. That’s a great class.
While Hubbard’s commitment doesn’t put Ohio State into the top spot in 2020, it does move them even closer to Miami, despite holding two fewer commitments. I think Ohio State will take that spot over sometime soon, and I don’t think they’ll relinquish it, giving Urban Meyer his first top-class in Columbus.
Getting Hubbard in the class this early is obviously a big deal because of how talented he is, and because landing any recruit early is good. But also because, until last year, Hubbard was an Ohio product. He originally played at Buchtel in Akron, before transferring to play at Chaparral. That means that after a few years away from Ohio, Hubbard will be heading home in 2020.
You can view Darvon’s highlights below, and read more on his commitment here.