Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard traveled to the United States from Alberta, Canada, at 18 years old to do more than play football as a hobby. He’s trying to change his family’s life, he said.

Hubbard is the youngest of four children, with two brothers and a sister. He said his family is a big part of what he does on the football field.

Hubbard has the speed, vision and body type that would allow him to play football at the next level. The 6-foot-1, 207-pounder is on track to play football on Sundays, and coach Mike Gundy said he has witnessed Hubbard become more serious about football this season.

“I’ve seen my mom work hard her whole life,” Hubbard said. “We struggled and stuff throughout our lives, my brothers and sister. I didn’t come here just for me. I came here for them. They’re a big part of why I came. I just want to make them proud and be able to take care of them at the end of the day.”

Hubbard showed flashes of his potential last season, especially in the final four games of the year after Justice Hill was sidelined with an injury. Hubbard averaged 106 yards per game in those games.

Hubbard rushed for a career-high 221 yards Friday in the season opener at Oregon State. His three touchdowns led Oklahoma State to a 52-36 victory, and he is looking to duplicate that production in the home opener against McNeese State at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Hubbard talked after practice Monday about how he refocused and fixed some things he let slip last season.

“I can admit that I kind of set back a little bit and kind of fell behind what I usually do,” Hubbard said. “So this year I was like I’m not going to fall back this year. This is the year that big things can happen. My team needs me, so I just made sure I took care of the little things.”

Friday’s performance showed Hubbard’s progress. Gundy referenced future NFL Hall of Famers Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers when talking about Hubbard’s mental approach in practice.

“They don’t jack around. When they go to the field it’s football,” Gundy said. “When they come off the field, that’s fine. (Hubbard) looks like he’s really into football now, and I’m really excited about watching him play for that reason.”

Early this summer, Gundy talked about how Hubbard reminded him of his teammates when he played quarterback for the Cowboys in the 1980s. Hubbard ran to the goal line every time in fall camp when practicing a play at the 40-yard line during the non-tackling sessions.

Gundy said he hadn’t seen that in years. Hubbard’s practice habits were just foreshadowing his 53-yard TD he scored in the opener.

“I came here for a reason,” Hubbard said. “I didn’t move to another country just to have fun and go to college.”

Frank Bonner II

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Sports Writer

Frank joined Tulsa World as the Oklahoma State University sports writer in June 2019. He is an Indiana native who attended graduate school at IUPUI after receiving his bachelor’s degree at Indiana University. 918-581-8387