Recruiting Watch

6-foot-6 linebacker prospect still growing

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Joseph Fuqua II | Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Moeller's Sam Hubbard (6) makes a tackle in a game against Pike High School earlier this season.

At the moment, Sam Hubbard is considered to be part of the solution for the depth problem at linebacker for Ohio State. That is, unless he grows right on up into being a center for OSU basketball coach Thad Matta.

Joking aside, in a couple of years, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound outside linebacker from Cincinnati Moeller could be much larger — heavier for sure — though with the same speed. One of the reasons why Ohio State accepted his early commitment months ago to the 2014 class is his potential.

“The book is pretty much open right now,” Hubbard said. “They don’t know exactly what I’ll end up doing.”

Whatever position becomes his, he knows he still will have a linebacker’s heart. Hubbard plays with speed and intensity, and he doesn’t shy from the big collisions.

“That’s the way I try to play, at least,” Hubbard said.

That attitude is expected in a Moeller program that once ruled the state in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and now is in a renaissance. The Crusaders won the Division I state championship last season.

“We play a lot of intense, top-level competition, and we have big crowds at our games,” Hubbard said. “There is a lot of tradition at Moeller, and expectations come with the territory. You’ve got to play intense if you want to play with the best.”

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer no doubt is counting on the carryover effect for Hubbard. Meyer also has made no secret that the depth problems the Buckeyes are dealing with at linebacker this season must be addressed with the next couple of recruiting classes.

It’s uncertain whether Hubbard will remain a linebacker. For now, though, he’s considered one, along with Dante Booker of Akron (St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Kyle Berger of Cleveland (St. Ignatius), both four-star prospects according to Rivals.com, and like Hubbard, already pledged to OSU’s 2014 class.

The Buckeyes are thought to be leading, if slightly, for Raekwon McMillan, of Hinesville, Ga., considered the top inside linebacker prospect nationally by Rivals.com.

“But Ohio State’s linebacker class is a really strong group already, even though Berger is recovering from knee surgery from a month ago,” Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic said. “We’ll see what Hubbard ends up playing, but he has tremendous potential; he conceivably could be a Viper (pass-rushing end) or a down defensive lineman, depending on the weight he puts on the next few years.”

Time will tell the tale.

“They are going to let me grow into my body, get me up there in the weight-lifting program, probably put some weight on me, and see where it takes me,” Hubbard said. “I’ll be happy to play anywhere.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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