Sherwood Park's Chuba Hubbard taking Heisman Trophy talk in stride
Former Bev Facey running back leads NCAA football in rushing yards
Chuba Hubbard of the Oklahoma State Cowboys is on everyone's radar right now.
Media have been tripping over themselves to get access to the NCAA's top running back.
With six games left in the season, the Sherwood Park product is in the Heisman Trophy conversation.
'It's been a life-changing time'
"This year has been pretty crazy," Hubbard said Thursday on a conference call from Stillwater, Okla.
"It's been a life-changing time here at Oklahoma State, coming from Canada. This is hard to do. So I'm blessed and thankful to be in the position that I'm in."
Hubbard is in his second year under Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy.
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He was "red-shirted" as a freshman last season and played in 12 games. He amassed 106 carries for 595 yards and six touchdowns.
There's a reason Chuba Hubbard leads the FBS in rushing ⚡️ <a href="https://t.co/r2NYzyma70">pic.twitter.com/r2NYzyma70</a>—@ESPNCFB
'That's just unheard of at that age'
He currently leads the NCAA with 1,094 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
J.K. Dobbins from Ohio State is next with 826 yards and six touchdowns.
"I'm just focused on winning games, and playing ball," Hubbard said, deflecting questions about having a shot at the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the most outstanding player in NCAA football, potentially turning pro after next spring's 2020 NFL Draft.
5. <a href="https://twitter.com/GatorsFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GatorsFB</a>'s Lamical Perine<br>4. <a href="https://twitter.com/CowboyFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CowboyFB</a>'s Chuba Hubbard<br>3-1. ??<a href="https://twitter.com/ReggieBush?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ReggieBush</a> picks his top 5 RBs from week 6 ⬇️ <a href="https://t.co/cr86UigPaS">pic.twitter.com/cr86UigPaS</a>—@CFBONFOX
"To be honest, I don't know what's going to happen after this year," he said when asked if a jump to the NFL after this season is something he's thinking about. "I'm just focused on winning games. And then after that, you know, I'll figure out what I'm going to do."
It's that team-first attitude that caught the attention of high school coach Curtis Martin.
Martin said Hubbard stood out as a peewee player with the Strathcona Sabrecats.
"I remember watching the provincial final, his first year playing peewee," Martin said. "It was a 76-72 provincial final and Chuba scored every point for his team. And that's just unheard of at that age."
During his three years at Bev Facey Community High School, Hubbard rushed for 6,880 yards on 458 carries and scored 82 touchdowns.
He still returns to Sherwood Park every summer.
Martin said the young star remains connected to his roots.
'They want to be the next Chuba Hubbard'
"There's kids saying they want to wear 30 when they get to high school, they want to go to Oklahoma State, they want to be the next Chuba Hubbard," said Martin.
"It's going to be really cool to see what he does with the platform that his skills are giving him, especially if he makes it to the NFL level."
Former teammate and close friend Chase Avery has had a front-row seat for many of Hubbard's highlights. The two met during peewee football and have remained friends ever since.
"It was always amazing watching him, he could just move like no one else, he could stop on a dime," said Avery, who is currently recovering from a knee injury he suffered as a linebacker with the St. Mary's Huskies in Halifax.
Avery said he's been watching his friend on television. Next month he plans to travel to Oklahoma to watch Hubbard play in the last game of the season against the Oklahoma Sooners.
"It's always good to see friends and family and stuff like that," said Hubbard, who is expecting up to a dozen people to come down for that game.
And, no, he isn't on the hook for tickets. But that will surely change if he makes it to the NFL.