Chuba and Amen Together as Cowboys to the End
STILLWATER -- The exact words were kind of hard to distinguish in the Student Union atrium. Well, except for Oklahoma State public address voice Larry Reece as his booming voice was clear as a bell all the way to Interstate 35. The somewhat fuzzy house microphone in the world's largest student union made some of the words from the Cowboys players at the rare mid-winter OSU football pep rally less distinguishable. Believe it, the crowd did hear returning All-American running back Chuba Hubbard say they had better buy their tickets because he and his teammates were bringing a national championship to Stillwater.
The humble to a fault Hubbard isn't prone to making bold and brash statements like that, but when you rushed for 2,094-yards, scored 21 touchdowns, and disappointed a slew of agents, if not NFL personnel executives by not going pro and coming back to Stillwater for one more season, then you can say those things.
"You probably won't hear me say that again," Hubbard said. It is what I came back to be a part of. I think my teammates could win a national championship with me or without me."
I have no doubt that Hubbard came back to a part of something special next season. I also know he came back to get a degree. That is something his mother, father, and admittedly himself wanted to finish. As a result of coming back, Hubbard will also get one more season with his fellow Canadian, linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga. It was former defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State Glenn Spencer that reminded me a couple of weeks ago that he recruited Ogbongbemiga to Stillwater from Notre Dame Prep in Calgary. Ogbongbemiga was bragging about this back he and his teammates had played and beaten, but the kid rushed for over 200-yards in defeat.
Ogbongbemiga started recruiting Hubbard and then the Cowboys staff, including running backs coach Marcus Arroyo and head coach Mike Gundy picked it up.
This duo is a reason for the Canadian flags emoji going on everything Oklahoma State football. Amen is not asking for any thankful prayers, but he was with Chuba some while Hubbard was making his mind up.
"We were just hanging out, it was nothing like me going up to recruit him or anything," Ogbongbemiga said of the last few weeks between the Texas Bowl and the start of the spring semester. "We had kind of said during the season that we were going to get together and chill in our home towns. He came to Calgary and I went up to see him. We were just hanging out, but maybe it influenced him some, me just hanging out with him."
When Ogbongbemiga says chill, he ain't kidding. The average temperature up there right now is anywhere between 5-to-23 degrees. Chuba said he noticed people were arming up to him wherever he went.
"I felt like everybody was trying to get the scoop," Hubbard said. "I would go to the store and people would say, 'You're Chuba Hubbard.' I'd say, 'yeah' and they'd say, 'what are you going to do?' I'd say, 'Sorry, I can't tell you that.' It felt good figuring out what I wanted to do. Obviously, it was a long process and a lot of people were anxious about it."
Hubbard said it felt good that he told a number of his teammates and coaches first. One of those was his Canadian brother that helped recruit him to Stillwater. Now the duo will finish at Oklahoma State together and likely stay together in training for the next level as both will be NFL prospects.
"That's a big deal," Ogbongbemiga said. "It's all about him because he is a phenominal player and he has done great things for this University and I hope we can both keep putting on for our country."
"Honestly, it is pretty crazy if you think about it," Hubbard added. "What was it? It was like four or five years ago that we were playing against each other and we really didn't like each other, Okay, I really didn't like him. Now we are brothers and family. I wouldn't want it any other way."