GLENDALE, Ariz. — Anytime you lose 31-0, good news is hard to come by.
But if such thing is even possible for Ohio State in the aftermath of its loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, the Buckeyes received it in the moments following the game when Sam Hubbard announced he’ll be returning to school in 2017.
Having just wrapped up his redshirt sophomore season, the Ohio State defensive end took to Twitter to announce his intentions.
#BuckeyeNation I’m not going anywhere. Time to get to work for next season .. Thank you seniors, it was a pleasure. Love you all
— Samwise (@Sam_Hubbard_) January 1, 2017
In returning for his junior campaign, Hubbard will serve as one of the anchors of the Buckeyes defense. The 6-foot-5, 266-pound defensive end this season tallied 41 tackles, seven of which came for a loss, 3 sacks and 4 QB hurries. As a redshirt freshman in 2015, the Cincinnati native posted 6.5 sacks despite playing behind Joey Bosa on the depth chart.
NFL draft websites have already projected Hubbard as a player with high potential as a pro prospect, assuming he continues to follow his career trajectory. WalterFootball.com currently pegs him as a first-round pick in 2018.
It remains to be seen which other Ohio State underclassmen will join Hubbard in returning to school in 2017. Fellow defenders Raekwon McMillan, Tyquan Lewis, Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker each figure to have decisions on their hands. Moments after Hubbard posted his announcement, fellow defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes sent out a tweet of his own, which seemed to indicate he’ll forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
#BuckeyeNation thank you for everything you done I appreciate it
— QB KILLA (@JayHolmes_) January 1, 2017
On Saturday night, Buckeyes junior guard Billy Price also announced he’ll be returning to Ohio State in 2017. Much like Pat Elflein from last season to this, the plan is for Price to move to center.
For Buckeyes fans, this may be a New Year’s Eve to forget. But at least Ohio State is already finding out who it will be able to count on in the coming year.