Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard’s decision to bypass the 2020 NFL Draft and return to Oklahoma State following his stellar sophomore campaign shocked many in the football world, as the Sherwood Park, Alt., native seemed destined to be selected somewhere in the early rounds of the draft.
Hubbard isn’t the first high-profile player to return to school and he certainly will not be the last.
For some players, the decision to return to school has worked out favourably and paved the way for them to have a better start to their professional careers; for others, the decision has resulted in a significant loss in projected earnings.
It remains to be seen how Hubbard’s decision will impact the start to his pro career, but what is known is that he almost surely will finish this season way off the incredible stats he produced a year ago when he finished eighth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.
While it was unfair to expect that Hubbard would again come close to the 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns that he put up in 2019 – where he finished with the second-most rushing yards in school history behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders – it’s been eye-opening to see how much of a tough go he’s had in 2020,
Chuba Hubbard's Oklahoma State Career Stats
|Year||Games||Rush Att||Rush Yards||Rush Avg||Rush TDs||Rec||Rec Yards||Rec TDs|
As the table above illustrates, Hubbard is on pace to have arguably his worst season at Oklahoma State. Though he’s likely to surpass the total rushing yards and touchdowns marks from that of his rookie year, his yards per carry this season (4.7) is way below that of his rookie season (6.0).
The only reason Hubbard will likely exceed in those categories is because he is now Oklahoma State’s lead running back as opposed to being its backup like he was in his first season.
Another stat that jumps out about Hubbard’s performance this season is how few yards he’s finished games with. During his 2019 campaign, Hubbard failed to total at least 100 yards rushing just once all season – and he had four games were he even surpassed 200 yards on the ground.
The 2020 season has been a different story, as Hubbard has failed the reach the 100-yard rushing mark in four of the seven games he’s played.
Injuries have played a part in Hubbard’s disappointing season, as has the emergence of Hubbard’s backup LD Brown, who has totalled 395 rushing yards on just 70 attempts and has averaged more per rush (5.6) than Hubbard.
When reflecting on Hubbard’s struggles in 2020, it also bears mentioning that schools are game planning for him now. While that may have been the case last season as well, it definitely is now after the Canadian put the college football world on notice in 2019.
Though it’s been a rough season for Hubbard, there’s still time for him to improve his numbers this season and elevate his stock for the 2021 NFL Draft. Oklahoma State still has three regular-season games plus a potential bowl game remaining on its schedule.