Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard prepping for NFL draft: Oklahoma State coach

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) carries past Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown (6) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Sue Ogrocki

WACO, Texas - Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard has chosen to enter the 2021 NFL draft, his college coach said.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told the school's radio pre-game show that the 21-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., would not play in the team's regular-season finale Saturday against Baylor because he has "chosen to go to the NFL."

Hubbard was the 2019 NCAA rushing leader, but has been plagued by injuries this season and missed Oklahoma's last two games with an ankle injury.

Teammate and fellow Canadian Amen Ogbongbemia tweeted in defence of Hubbard's decision. The linebacker mentioned that Hubbard took "many pain killers" to withstand pain and at times "couldn't walk" while off the field, before congratulating him as he tries to accomplish his "lifelong dream".

"Obviously he didn’t have the year he wanted to and he knows that but to say he quit on his team is crazy...he was going through a severe ankle injury that he played through just to help his team win." Ogbongbemia wrote in a tweet.

It's been a disappointing season for the Cowboys, who were expected to contend for the Big 12 championship this year, but have lost three of their last five outings. Oklahoma State was 6-3 entering the game against Baylor.

The six-foot, 208-pound Hubbard has 625 rushing yards and five touchdowns in seven games this season.

Last year, he tallied 2,094 yards en route to becoming a unanimous All-American selection and the Big 12's offensive player of the year.

Hubbard, a redshirt junior, finishes his college career having rushed for 3,459 yards and 33 touchdowns.

In May, he received the Jon Cornish Trophy as the top Canadian in the NCAA football ranks and opted to remain at Oklahoma State rather than declare for the 2020 NFL draft.

Hubbard publicly spoke out against Gundy in June after pictures surfaced on social media of the coach wearing the T-shirt of a far-right media outlet.

"I will not stand for this,'' Hubbard said in a Twitter post. "This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it's unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.''

The pair later appeared in a video where they shook hands and hugged.

"I'm looking forward to making some changes, and it starts at the top with me, and we've got good days ahead," Gundy said in the video.

Hubbard apologized for taking to social media instead of speaking to Gundy directly, but later tweeted "No don't get it twisted. Foot's still on the gas. Results are coming. It's not over."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2020.

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