In this Oct. 26, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard blows a kiss to Oklahoma State fans after their 34-27 win over Iowa State in an NCAA college football game in Ames, Iowa. Hubbard of the Oklahoma State Cowboys captured the Jon Cornish Trophy on Tuesday as the top Canadian in the NCAA football ranks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Matthew Putney

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard named Cornish Award recipient

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard named Cornish Award recipient

Chuba Hubbard wants his standout NCAA season to send a message south of the border. Not just for himself, or for other football players, but for all Canadians who want their talent to be recognized.

Hubbard, a star running back for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, captured the Jon Cornish Trophy on Wednesday as the top Canadian in the NCAA football ranks. The honour capped a standout season for Hubbard, whose list of achievements and accolades in 2019 included an NCAA rushing title.

“You know a lot of people say ‘Canadians can’t do this, Canadian’s can’t do this, it’s only Americans.’ So just to see Canadians play at the highest level, it’s special,” Hubbard said Wednesday on a video conference.

“What we’re all doing is trying to open up a gateway from Canada to the States, to show that Canadian kids, whether it’s football, track, really whatever in life, you can achieve it with hard work.”

The six-foot-one, 207-pound native of Sherwood Park, Alta., received 19-of-20 available votes for the award, which is named after former University of Kansas and Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish of New Westminster, B.C.

Chase Claypool of Abbotsford, B.C., a receiver with Notre Dame, earned the other vote to finish second.

The other finalists in the strong class included Oklahoma defensive lineman Neville Gallimore of Ottawa (a third-round Dallas Cowboys pick), Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke of Oakville, Ont. — who won the award the previous two years — and Oklahoma State linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga of Calgary.

Claypool and Gallimore were both selected in last month’s NFL draft. Claypool went in the second round to the Pittsburgh Steelers while Gallimore was a third-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys. Rourke was a second-round selection of the B.C. Lions in the CFL draft on April 30.

Hubbard said he follows the achievements of his fellow Canadians.

“I try my best to track of all those guys like Neville, Chase, Nathan, those guys are talented. Especially to see Canadians doing great things.”

Hubbard was certainly doing great things in 2019, a season that saw him compile an impressive list of statistical benchmarks and honours.

A redshirt freshman, Hubbard was the NCAA’s rushing leader last season with 2,094 yards and 21 TDs, averaging a whopping 161.1 yards per game. He added 23 catches for 198 yards.

He was named a unanimous All-American selection and the Big 12’s offensive player of the year.

Hubbard was a finalist for both the Walter Camp Player of the Year award and Doak Walker honour (NCAA’s top running back). He was eighth in voting for the Heisman Trophy, presented annually to American university football’s top player.

He was the only Big 12 player to average over 100 rushing yards per game this season. And his 2,094 rushing yards was the second-most in school history behind Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, who ran for 2,850 yards for the Cowboys in winning the ‘88 Heisman Trophy.

Not satisfied, Hubbard is looking to build on his breakout season whenever play resumes.

“This is amazing and I’m trying to take this all in, but I’m dialed in (to next season),” he said. ”Last year was fun and we did a lot of great things, but I want to take it to the next level.”

Hubbard made a tough decision to return to Oklahoma State this fall for his junior season instead of entering the NFL draft. He said the current devaluation of running backs factored into his decision — only one was taken in the first round — but the main reasons for his choice were personal.

“A lot of things factored into my decision. One, I wanted my degree. Two, I felt that I could get a lot better on the field. And three, I felt like I could mature off the field as a human being,” he said.

“The biggest thing for me was I wanted my degree, I wanted to grow as a person on and off the field.”

Hubbard said he will be “in the best shape of my life” when next season begins. However, questions remain regarding when — or if — the campaign will get started due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been tough for everybody. It’s kind of tough because football is our life, but at this point it’s kind of like just at a halt, so you don’t really know what to do,” Hubbard said. ”But I think right now you’ve just got to be with your family, be safe, do whatever the medical people say to do and that’s about it.

“I know the football season will resume at one point so you’ve just got to stay ready.”

Hubbard is currently in Stillwater, Okla., after previously spending time in quarantine in Baltimore with his friend Justice Hill, a former OSU running back now with the NFL’s Ravens.

“J-Hill helped me with a lot of stuff, trust me,” Hubbard said. “ I can’t tell y’all, you’ll have to see on the field. But he gave me some tips.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Football

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

100 Women Who Care make a donation to Sylvan Lake Food Bank and Bethany Care Centre. Photo By Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
100 Women Who Care donate to four Sylvan Lake groups

The Food Bank, Bethany Sylvan Lake, Community Partners and the Library all received a donation

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read