The college football coach that ends up with Adrian Hubbard on his team come national signing day in February will need to send a thank you note to senior class at Norcross High School.
Why? Because, ultimately, they were the ones that allowed Hubbard to return to the football field after a year’s hiatus. And now, the 6-foot-7, 227-pound defensive end/tight end is one of the unexpected grand prizes in Atlanta’s recruiting class of 2010.
Hubbard is a rarity in the modern age of college football recruiting. That is, he came into his senior year a virtual unknown. Hubbard played football as a sophomore at Peachtree Ridge but he transferred to Norcross as a junior in order to play basketball for the Blue Devils. He did not play football.
This past summer, Hubbard came to coach Keith Maloof and told him that he missed the game and wished to come out for the team. You could only imagine Maloof’s delight as he stared up at the at the towering athletic figure. But he did not accept Hubbard’s request on the spot. He put it to a vote of his seniors.
“He said he really wanted to play football, that he missed it more than he thought he would,” Maloof recounted recently. “So I told him I’d have to ask my seniors. They’d worked hard for four years and all of the sudden you’re coming in. So I’ll have to talk to them.”
The seniors, most of whom already knew Hubbard, gave him unanimous approval.
“Kids know if somebody’s a good kid or not,” Maloof said. “They just know. So they let him come out.”
Said Hubbard: “I always loved football. I don’t know why I stopped playing it. I just told Coach Maloof how I felt about the situation and I was blessed enough to be allowed back on the team.”
Hubbard and about 15 major college football programs are eternally grateful. That’s about how many scholarship offers have come Hubbard’s way, most of them late in the year.
“The latest offers I’ve had are from Alabama, FSU and Auburn,” Hubbard said on Sunday. “Georgia offered me on Thursday.”
Georgia? The team that already has commitments from five defensive ends?
“Yes, sir,” Hubbard said. “I hadn’t really heard from them in a while. But I’m sure they’re like most colleges and gave most of their offers out before the season. I’m a late bloomer, so I’m guessing one of their prospects didn’t meet requirements of the SAT or something and the offer came. I think they probably wanted to offer me before but they couldn’t. . . . I don’t hold it against them. I’m open to everybody. I’m looking at all of them and having fun with it.
He’s also holding offers from North Carolina, South Carolina, N.C. State, Clemson and Maryland, among others.
“It goes on and on and on,” Maloof said. “He’s a 6-7, 227-pound athlete that runs a 4.4 and he’s had a great year at defensive end. So opportunities have come to his door and I’m excited for him. He’s a great kid and he’s been fun to coach. I wish I had coached him for four years.”
And a lot of folks hope they have him for the next four. Hubbard went on an unofficial visit to Alabama for the LSU game this past Saturday. He’s heading up to South Carolina for a second time this coming weekend for the Gamecocks’ game against Florida. That will be an official visit. He’s already been up to Maryland and Vanderbilt.
Hubbard said he plans to take all five of his official visits, with Alabama and FSU definitely on the list but not yet set up. He hasn’t decided who will get the other two. He said he will make his final decision public at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2 in Orlando.
What will be the deciding factors?
“The school has to have my major (forensics and/or criminal justice),” he said. “And what other kinds of kids am I going to be surrounded with, how will I fit in with the school, the people that go there, my teammates and coaches? Mostly I’m looking for a winning tradition. I like that atmosphere.”