Alberta star running back Chuba Hubbard readies for NFL draft
EDMONTON -- After a roller-coaster college football career that saw him emerge as a star before having to cut his 2020 season short due to injury, Chuba Hubbard is ready to go pro.
The Sherwood Park running back is likely hear his name called sometime between Thursday and Saturday at the National Football League draft.
"There's a bunch of different emotions flowing," Hubbard said. "Whatever happens happens. I'll be happy. I'm just blessed to be considered."
- Canadian RB Chuba Hubbard produces solid workout at Oklahoma State Cowboys pro day
- Chuba Hubbard to leave college, will enter NFL draft
Hubbard, 21, emerged as a pro prospect after leading the country in rushing in 2019 for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
He elected to give up his one remaining year of college eligibility to enter this year's draft after a difficult 2020 season that ended with an ankle injury in late November.
"I feel like my time was really up [at Oklahoma State]. I feel like I put in the work to get to this next chapter."
Hubbard, who will graduate later this month, says he's back to full health after surgeries on his groin and knee.
"That was a big thing for me these last few months," he said. "Just rehab and get my body back where it needs to be."
He'll watch the draft from California while his family tunes in back in Sherwood Park.
"The draft is so crazy," he said. "You never know what's going to happen or what to expect."
The draft begins Thursday night with the first round, continues Friday night with rounds two and three, before wrapping up Saturday with rounds four through seven.
Most draft analysts forecast him being selected as early as the third round.
Running backs have been somewhat devalued in recent years and are increasingly seen as replaceable and interchangeable.
Still, 19 running backs were selected in last year's draft, though only one was in the first round and five were in the second round. Five running backs were selected in the third round.
Hubbard took a calculated risk returning to school rather than declaring for the 2020 draft, given many pundits had him as a second- or third-round selection. But Hubbard said he has no regrets about his decision.
"I've grown so much this year as a person, as a leader, as a football player,'' he said. "A lot of people think I had a down year . . . but I wanted to win a championship, I wanted to get my degree and I just wanted to mature.
"I feel I did a lot of that. The one thing I wasn't able to do is help my team win a championship and that's something that will always kind of be on my back but I hope at this next level, whatever team decides to pick me up I can help them win a championship.''
Hubbard also had no regrets for calling out OSU head coach Mike Gundy last summer for appearing in a photo wearing a T-shirt promoting One America News, a far-right news network.
"At the end of the day, I'm me,'' Hubbard said. "I'm someone that's going to stand up for what's right, I'm going to speak up when I think something is wrong.
ALBERTANS IN THE NFL
Hubbard stands to be the first Alberta-born-and-raised player in a generation to appear in a NFL game.
Offensive lineman Daniel Federkeil from Medicine Hat was undrafted out of the University of Calgary in 2006 but caught on with the NFL's Colts, won the Super Bowl XLI in 2007 and returned to played six seasons with the Calgary Stampeders before retiring in 2018.
Red Deer's Carter O'Donnell also went undrafted in 2020 but also signed on with the Colts as a free agent practice squad player. The University of Alberta alum remains on the team's roster but has yet to play in a NFL game.
Receiver Nate Burleson was the last Alberta-born player to appear in a NFL game though his family moved to the United States from his birthplace in Calgary when he was two years old.
With files from the Associated Press