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Mike Gundy says running back Chuba Hubbard is opting out to prep for NFL draft

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Chuba Hubbard’s tumultuous final year at Oklahoma State appears to be over.

OSU coach Mike Gundy said on his pregame show ahead of Saturday’s game against Baylor that Hubbard wouldn’t be playing because he’s heading to the NFL.

Hubbard was one of the most dynamic running backs in college football in 2019. He rushed 328 times for 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns and also had 23 catches for 198 yards. Instead of heading to the NFL and the 2020 draft, Hubbard decided to come back for the 2020 season. And he wasn’t nearly as productive as the Oklahoma State offense struggled throughout the season.

Hubbard had 133 carries for 625 yards and just five touchdowns through seven games. His yards per carry average dropped from 6.4 in 2019 to 4.7 in 2020.

Oklahoma State is 6-3 entering the Baylor game and its offense is averaging just 5.3 yards per play. We’ll see over the spring how those offensive struggles impact Hubbard’s draft stock. He was a potential second- or third-round pick.

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) carries during an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard is off to the NFL. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Chuba Hubbard’s criticism of Mike Gundy

While Hubbard’s production in 2020 didn’t match his performance in 2019, he also called out Gundy publicly over the summer.

Hubbard said in June that he wouldn’t participate in any OSU activities after he saw a picture of Gundy wearing a T-shirt of a fringe conspiracy theory-spouting cable news network.

That picture wasn’t the first time that Gundy had shown his support for One America News either. He previously spouted his support for the network in an April teleconference. That was the same teleconference where he said that the return of football would help “run money through the state of Oklahoma.”

A day after Hubbard’s tweet, Gundy vowed to make changes in a video with his star running back. The video also included an apology from Hubbard for speaking his mind.

A source told Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel after the Gundy-Hubbard kerfuffle that the discontent was not simply about a shirt.

“This was about way more than a T-shirt,” the source told Thamel. “Think about it. Chuba didn’t risk everything because of what channel Gundy watches. It was a lack of general respect for the well-being of the players.”

Per Thamel’s story, Gundy didn’t know many players’ names.

In July, Oklahoma State said an investigation found that Gundy’s actions at OSU were not rooted in racism, though it did acknowledge that he needed to do better at building relationships with his players. Gundy also got a pay cut over the summer, though the school said that the cut was voluntary.

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