Ohio State football: Some helpful advice — wink, wink — as Sam Hubbard debates his NFL future

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nobody wants to steal Sam Hubbard’s moment, and the Ohio State defensive lineman swears no decision has been made.

And if that’s true, allow me to offer some advice to the redshirt junior: Go to the NFL, Sam. You have given more than enough to the Buckeyes, and it’s time to cash in on all that absurd athleticism.

There had to be a reason that Hubbard was allowed to participate in Senior Tackle last week before the rivalry showdown with Michigan, right? I mean, that tradition is reserved for players heading into their final shot in The Game.

“Yeah, it was just an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up,” Hubbard said. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do next year, I’m just focusing on winning a Big Ten championship. It’s just an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up if I do make that decision.

“But I am totally up in the air, I have no idea what I’m going to do yet.”

That could certainly be true, but at this point there is a better chance that I’m lining up at defensive end for the Buckeyes next year than Hubbard. Again, there’s no reason for him to come back, and just about everybody knows it — even if they don’t want to admit it.

Ohio State surely didn’t mean to reveal his secret on social media, accidentally posting footage of him participating in Senior Tackle. That can really only mean one thing, although somebody with a vivid imagination could help come up with a reason for explain the possibility of him taking part in that tradition twice.

Urban Meyer also didn’t want to speak for Hubbard or spill the beans earlier this week, instead throwing his arms as wide as they would go and busting out laughing when asked if the door was open for a return.

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Sam Hubbard is the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Of course the Buckeyes would welcome back one of the most versatile defenders in the country. Can you even imagine what Hubbard would look like as a senior for the Buckeyes lining up with Nick Bosa and Chase Young for another season?

SPOILER ALERT: That’s not going to happen.

Hubbard may not be ready to make it public yet, and that’s absolutely fine. But it’s been clear since he made his intention to return for another year in the locker room at the Fiesta Bowl last season that this would be his last campaign with the Buckeyes.

“I don’t want to start a precedent, but he’s been a three-year starter,” Meyer said. “He’s a graduate. And that’s his decision.

“We talked about it, and he wanted to go through Senior Tackle. That’s his call.”

Look, Hubbard is in a tough spot. He has always been an outstanding teammate, an incredible representative of the program on and off the field and has never wanted to be a potential distraction. Declaring for the draft the week of the Big Ten championship game would put the focus on him individually when the preparations are supposed to be all about the team, and that’s the last thing Hubbard would ever want.

The spotlight has a way of finding him anyway, particularly with the way he’s producing down the stretch. And there’s a strong case to be made that Hubbard is playing the finest football of his career at the moment, making the most of what are likely his final chances to leave a mark with the Silver Bullets.

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Sam Hubbard posted 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble in the win over Michigan. (Land of 10 file photo)

Measuring the success of any of the defensive linemen at Ohio State using statistics alone is almost pointless thanks to the deep rotation of talent. But Hubbard’s 2 1/2 sacks and forced fumble in the win over the Wolverines helped add some numbers to support the case for just how well he’s been playing up front this season.

For the year, Hubbard now has 36 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 4 1/2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. For people who don’t know any better, that probably doesn’t scream that it’s no-brainer for Hubbard to declare for the draft.

But there is really no decision. There’s also no reason for him to waste time talking about the NFL when there’s a Big Ten title to win.

But just in case, I’ll reiterate some advice I’ve really been mulling over to help: Go pro, Sam.

And sign me as your agent.

The post Ohio State football: Some helpful advice — wink, wink — as Sam Hubbard debates his NFL future appeared first on Land of 10.

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