Sam Hubbard: Road to the NFL

Photo by Aaron Doster- USA Today Sports

Photo by Aaron Doster- USA Today Sports

With the 77th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals took Sam Hubbard from The Ohio State University. Many people know Sam throughout the Cincinnati area, since he attended Archbishop Moeller High School. With great size, athleticism, and attitude, Sam was destined to play division 1 football at a very high level and even go professional.

Hubbard was a versatile athlete in high school. He played two sports, which he could’ve gone to college to play either sport of his choice. He was committed to Notre Dame to play lacrosse as a junior. Hubbard even managed his time when he was off the field too. I interviewed one of Hubbard’s Moeller teachers and football coach, Doug Rosfeld. “In addition to being great in football, Sam was one of the best students I ever had.” He continued, “So whether it was lacrosse practice, economics class, or football game, he never lowered his personal expectations.”

Hubbard finished his junior year with 80 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. After his junior season, he was a five-star recruit by Scout.com and committed to Ohio State to play football on scholarship role. He took the Ohio State offer and decided to play football. As a senior free safety, Hubbard had 110 tackles and 5 interceptions and he was named All-Ohio. Hubbard finished his high school career with two State Championship rings as a captain of the football team. Rosfeld concluded, “As a captain, our whole team was craving success and committed to being excellent.” He continued, “That was his greatest impact on our championship run.”

Hubbard’s versatility was one of the many unique abilities that he gave to Ohio State. With Moeller’s history of producing special tight ends, he started his college career at tight end. He red-shirted his freshman year in 2014. Coaches knew that he could play anywhere they chose, due to his multifaceted talents and work ethic, but the question was what would be his best fit.

He made the switch to defensive end. Clearly he did something right, and gained over 60 pounds in college due to his special and impressive work ethic. “His effort and work ethic was crazy. That kind of behavior spread to teammates and created a culture of success,” Rosfeld mentioned. As a red-shirt freshman in 2015, he had 28 tackles and 6.5 sacks, where he played all 13 games. As a red-shirt sophomore he had 46 tackles and 3.5 sacks, and started all 13 games. In his last season as a red-shirt Junior, Hubbard had 42 tackles and 7 sacks, also starting in all 14 games including the Cotton Bowl where he played against current Jets quarterback, Sam Darnold. The Buckeyes trampled the USC Trojans 24-7, in Hubbard’s last game as a Buckeye. The next day, Hubbard declared for the NFL Draft on December 30, 2017.

Photo by Shannon Russell

Photo by Shannon Russell

Hubbard attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis with all eyes on him. He skipped the 40-yard dash and bench press. The next three months, Hubbard prepared for Ohio State’s pro day on March 22. At the pro day, Hubbard’s pre-draft measurable jumped out at NFL scouts. He clocked an impressive 4.74 40 yard dash, benched 24 reps of 225 lbs, a 34 inch vertical jump, and a 10 foot broad jump. He was weighed at 270 lbs and measured at 6 foot 5 inches. At the conclusion of the pre-draft, Hubbard was projected to be a late first or early second round pick by NFL scouts and experts. He was ranked the third best defensive end in the draft by DraftScout.com.

Hubbard was still around in the third round and the Bengals noticed that he was a steal this late in the draft. The Cincinnati Bengals selected Hubbard with the 77th pick in the 2018 draft. He was the seventh defensive end selected in the draft. On June 21, the Bengals finalized a four year, $3.61 million contract that included a $929,000 signing bonus. He recorded his first-career sack against the Baltimore Ravens on national television on Thursday, September 13. He went on to have an impressive tackle for loss in the second quarter and totaled five tackles in the game. The Bengals ended up winning 34-23. Hubbard is also used as a fullback in goal line packages since they let Ryan Hewitt go.

In conclusion, it’s amazing to see how much Hubbard has progressed from high school to the NFL. Gaining over 50 pounds, it’s clear to see how dedicated he is into becoming the best player on the field. As a rookie, Hubbard will continue to impress many other people like he did against the Ravens and earn more playing time at defensive end.

Austin Bradfish