Several recruits were on campus for Pitt’s matchup with Oklahoma State, and no one stood out more than Sharpsville offensive lineman Ja’quay Hubbard.
Hubbard stands at a towering 6-foot-6 and 333 pounds, and his combination of size and athleticism is a major reason why Pitt has interest in the 2019 prospect.
The junior lineman made the trip to Heinz Field with one of his high school friends and had only positive things to say about his visit.
“It was an awesome experience,” Hubbard said. “We got there a little bit earlier so we could feel the pre-game atmosphere, and it was awesome. The fans treated me like family, which you can never complain about that.
“I love it there. I got to talk to coach [John] Peterson, coach [James] Patton, coach [Tim] Salem and all those guys. I’ve been building up a nice relationship with them so everything’s going well so far.”
Despite the lopsided outcome against the sixth-ranked Cowboys, Hubbard praised the Panthers for playing back-to-back Top 10 teams and noted, “That’s not easy to do.”
The junior lineman currently has an offer from Toledo, but his recruiting process is starting to heat up with recent trips to Penn State and West Virginia in addition to Pitt. Hubbard credits the work he has put in during the offseason for teams’ growing interest.
“The training is starting to show up on film, which I couldn’t be more happy about,” Hubbard said. “But the goal is to get better every game, because no college coach wants a stand-still player. They want me improving throughout each week, throughout each practice, and throughout each drill, so that’s the goal.”
A versatile lineman, Hubbard can play all three positions, and he believes his move inside to guard this year is more evidence of his agility as a blocker.
“My coaches moved to me left guard, which is not bad because it gives me a chance to show all the coaches how athletic I could be at tackle,” Hubbard said. “We run the wing-T offense so I’m pulling and trapping 95 percent of the time. Wherever I decide to go, wherever the coaches want me at, I’ll do whatever is best for the team.”
While it’s still early in the recruiting process, Hubbard knows what he’s looking for at the next level.
“I’m looking for the best relationship that I can build with coaches, the one I truly feel most comfortable with,” Hubbard said. “You don’t want to just jump on the decision…you want to make sure it feels like home.”
With a lot of ties to Pitt, Hubbard had a hard time holding back his excitement about the thought of an offer from the Panthers.
“An offer from Pitt would be awesome, because I have family members who’ve been to Pitt and it’s only an hour away from my mom,” Hubbard said. “Pitt is an awesome place. The city itself is great and the coaching staff treats you like family. So an offer from them would be overwhelming. I’d be head-over-heels for it.”
The Sports Now network is growing! Check out our new site PittsburghHockeyNow.com for the best Pittsburgh Penguins news and opinion.