The Carolina Panthers drafted Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard due in part to how badly he dominated their head coach’s team in college.
Matt Rhule became Carolina’s bench boss in 2020, leading the team to a 5-11 record amid a rebuild. He’d spent the three previous years as the head coach at Baylor University where his club often faced Big 12 rival Oklahoma State, who were led by Hubbard at the time.
“You know, I couldn’t sit there and watch you run wild on me all those years at Baylor and not take you when I had the chance,” said Rhule to Hubbard after Carolina made the pick. The moment was captured on video and posted on Twitter by the Panthers.
Baylor beat Oklahoma State in 2018 and 2019 by scores of 35-31 and 45-27, respectively. Hubbard was relatively quiet in the first matchup, recording 51 rushing yards and 18 receiving yards on eleven touches. His production exploded the following year with 171 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, causing all kinds of problems for Baylor’s defence.
“This is true — I gotta tell you this, man. About ten minutes ago my wife texted me and said, ‘Please take Chuba Hubbard.’ So, she speaks — it happens. We’re excited to have you, man,” said Rhule.
The Panthers selected Hubbard at No. 126 overall in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The native of Sherwood Park, Alta. will join star running back Christian McCaffrey in the backfield where he will look to contribute as a ball carrier, receiver, and return specialist.
Hubbard led the NCAA with 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore and was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He finished eighth in voting for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in college football.