Better Know a Buckeye: Sam Hubbard

By Vico on March 20, 2014 at 11:00a
Sam Hubbard
24 Comments

Eleven Warriors' football offseason coverage continues today with the sixth installment of the sixth edition of the Better Know a Buckeye series. We continue the series with Sam Hubbard, who comes from Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati. He projects at either safety or outside linebacker for Ohio State.

To repeat a recurring theme of this year's recruiting class, Sam Hubbard is high on potential and athletic capabilities. However, he is substantively light on hype.

Scout's recruiting service is enamored with Hubbard, giving him five-star status and prominence as the 18th best overall prospect in their rankings. That said, Rivals list him as a three-star and just the 30th best prospect in the Buckeye State. 247Sports' composite ranking puts Hubbard at no. 181 overall in the country and the seventh best prospect in Ohio. The potential is intriguing and divergences of opinion on Hubbard may be a function of him being a late arrival on the recruiting scene.

Below, I retell how Hubbard's unusual path to Ohio State. Thereafter, I mention strengths and areas of improvement. After providing film and projecting a redshirt in 2014, I conclude with miscellaneous things about Hubbard you may find interesting.

Height: 6-6
Weight: 225
High School: Archbishop Moeller High School; Cincinnati

 

His Recruitment

Hubbard's recruitment starts late into his junior year and was brief. In February of last year, Sam Hubbard picked up interest from football schools for the first time. This even resulted in offers from Boston College and Ohio University. A month after those offers came, Ohio State extended an offer of its own. That Hubbard's recruitment was not more protracted and gradual is a departure from the usual trajectory. This is especially true since Archbishop Moeller High School is a football powerhouse and won the Division I state championship in 2012. 

Hubbard's late discovery could be attributed to his commitment to two sports, namely lacrosse. In January of his sophomore year, Hubbard pledged to Notre Dame to play lacrosse. Hubbard picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time in fourth grade and became a natural in the sport. He jumped on the opportunity to play for Notre Dame.

Hubbard also hoped that he could play both sports in college for Notre Dame, but was not able to reach an understanding with Brian Kelly's coaching staff on that issue. For the meantime, he assumed lacrosse would be his first sport and primary athletic commitment at the next level.

Offers from other big programs soon followed. Michigan State and Michigan offered. Miami, which had just signed a Moeller teammate in the 2013 recruiting class, offered as well.

However, there was no other program but Ohio State on Hubbard's radar. Days after getting his scholarship offer, Hubbard scheduled an unofficial visit for April 5. As the day of the visit approached, Hubbard made it clear football had become his primary athletic commitment. He decommitted from Notre Dame's lacrosse program a few days before the target visit date.

When the day itself came, a commitment followed that was perhaps a fait accompli.

His Commitment

On April 5, 2013, Sam Hubbard became the sixth member of Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class

In an interview with Eleven Warriors, Hubbard discussed his commitment and, importantly, why he decided to pursue football at Ohio State in lieu of lacrosse at Notre Dame.

You committed to Ohio State Friday. Why did you decide to become a Buckeye?

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. 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.

How did you commit to Coach Meyer? How did he react?

I think he knew it was coming. My family had been telling him how much they loved Ohio State all day. 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.

Why did you decide to play football instead of 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. 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.

Where He Excels

Ohio State fans hope that Hubbard's arrival at Ohio State will compensate for the sudden departure of Mike Mitchell, who will transfer from Ohio State after the current semester. At 6-6 and 225 pounds, he projects at outside linebacker, though he played safety for Moeller.

Hubbard is one of the most gifted athletes in Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class, though this superlative could be used for what seems like half of the 23 signees.

At the high school level, his size, athleticism and speed was problematic for opposing offenses. He neutralized tight ends, was imposing in run support, harassed wide receivers on intermediate routes, and created small windows and short time frames in which to fit a deep ball against the Moeller secondary.

At times, he seemed an impossible obstacle to overcome. Moeller won the last two state championships at the highest level of competition in Ohio for it.

All project well at Ohio State, though it is likely Hubbard slides to outside linebacker at the next level. His size should match opposing tight ends well in run support. His ability to get sideline to sideline should help take away outside runs from opposing offenses.

Must Work On

It is not inconceivable that Hubbard could get some attention as a tight end, though this is very unlikely. The more interesting question is if he gets too big for linebacker and slides into the weakside defensive end rotation. He could develop the frame to play weakside defensive end, though I am unsure how much of an effect he could have at that position versus outside linebacker. Ohio State football needs more playmakers at linebacker at the moment.

Leverage was not much of an issue playing safety at the high school level for Moeller, but it will be at the college level. Hubbard will need to play lower at linebacker if he is to win battles at the line of scrimmage against tight ends in run support. His hand-fighting and ability to disengage from blockers are also open questions at the moment.

Redshirt?

I thought Mike Mitchell would at least play special teams in 2013, though he did not and redshirted last year before transferring. My guess is Hubbard may not immediately crack the two-deep at linebacker, though his athleticism and his position are amenable to kickoff duties. I think he sees limited action as a true freshman this season.

Highlights

This should be senior year.

Miscellany

  • 11W Community Interview.
  • Athletic prowess runs in the family. One uncle played basketball for Michigan. Another played football for Notre Dame.
  • An older sister is currently a student at The Ohio State University.
  • As a junior, Hubbard had 80 tackles, seven TFLs, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. As a senior, he had 110 tackles and five interceptions.
  • He had 10 tackles and an interception in the state championship game win over Mentor.
  • Moeller finished nationally ranked in 2013.
  • Holds a 4.0 GPA.
24 Comments

Comments

Findog5's picture

This kid is going to be a beast.  Smart, fast and strong!!!

NCFinn

+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

NICE big real strong player - has a nose for the ball

ab1993's picture

Definitely one of my favorite prospects in this class. So excited to see him in Scarlet & Gray 

+1 HS
JTACbuckeye's picture

i was leery of him before I saw his tape and realized his athletic potential.  Now, I think he could be better than Mike Mitchell will be!

The strong will stand, the weak will fall by the wayside.  100% and then some!

theopulas's picture

i think if this kid puts in the work he will be a big part of our championship runs....he could possibly be a starter by his 3rd or 4th year.....

Theopulas

ab1993's picture

3 or 4 years...? I say next year or the year after

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

Looks physically awesome and would have great hands for a LB, but he will need to work on taking proper angles and gaining good "leverage," etc. On several of his tackles in the highlight video, he didn't fully "line up" the ball carrier, but still managed to sort of wrangle him down from a bad angle with his long arms. In college, those will be missed tackles. Still, he's obviously gifted.

+1 HS
WhySoSerious's picture

He's 6'6 hard to gain leverage when tackling midgets. Lol, in college those will be tackles. Just my 2 cents. 

Rare&Uncommon

Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

+1 HS
Buckeyebrowny919's picture

Whitey has instinct!!!! Love the skill set and can't wait for him to get on the field to excel.

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

+1 HS
BroJim's picture

This kid is GOOD! Can't wait to see how he fits in to the program!

I season my simple food with hunger

+1 HS
sivaDavis's picture

I always thought with how athletic he was and his size and versatility and adding in the fact that he played safety in high school would make him the perfect STAR guy. He is a big boy that can cover and is used to it but can also come up in run support.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
Ericgobucks's picture

Im very excited to see Sam play. I am definitely intrigued as to what kind of playing time he will earn this year. I hope he doesn't red shirt, but if it's just going to be some clean-up duty, i'd rather save him. 

+1 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I think he ends up being a redshirt.  He is going to need a year to transition from safety to linebacker.  I'm completely fine with the redshirt too considering we have Booker and Berger coming in.  I believe I read before that Booker has the frame to grow into a DE.  Is this correct?  Great write-up by the way.  Looking forward to having Hubbard in S&G.

+1 HS
JDunc686's picture

I remember reading that Raekwon could grow into a DE, we've seen what happened with Jamal Marcus.  I wonder if that is just a common statement for linebackers coming out of high school because these guys are so young that it is hard to project how much bigger they might get.  With Hubbard and Berger it could also be because they are pretty tall.

OHBuckInCA's picture

Holy crap, this guy was a man among boys in his highlights.  He seems to do a really good job of wrapping up instead of just trying to knock people over every play which is refreshing to see.  Best of all, he's got a good head on his shoulders.  Can't wait to see him play in Scarlet and Grey.

"The time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Athens BuckCat's picture

This kid is perhaps the most intriguing addition to Bucks in this recruiting class. Super excited to see him develop

cunneda's picture

I can't wait for football.

Cunneda

+1 HS
Jeremypreemo81's picture

There are 11 positions on each side of the ball, pick one and let this beast of kid get on the field.  Tremendous athlete with what appears to be a high football IQ . Glad he is with the good guys

Colerainbuck's picture

This kid drove me crazy in playoff game w Colerain and that's what has me now excited! As everyone has seen he has an incredible skill set that I definitely think will translate to college ball. And as a extra bonus his family is great and that maybe just as important.

WhySoSerious's picture

Full time starter somewhere on the field by a sophomore. Dude is a beast..

Rare&Uncommon

Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

PA717Buckeye's picture

I think he will play a lot this year.

let the best play.

O'boy's picture

maybe we can get a Heisman pose out of this one

O

BKshepherd's picture

I think he would be a terrific asset to match up against "Jump Ball" receivers on the goal line.  He has the cover skills and the height to negate the tall receiver advantage and can come up in run support if he has to as well.

+1 HS
1MechEng's picture

Holds a 4.0 GPA.

This. We need more of this.