From Sherwood Park to the NFL, Chuba Hubbard drafted to Carolina Panthers

A Sherwood Park football player has officially gone pro.

Chuba Hubbard was selected in the fourth round, 126th overall, by the Carolina Panthers during Saturday’s third National Football League (NFL) Draft day.

“A bunch of different emotions, more so just blessed than anything… thank you to everyone who helped me get there,” said Hubbard in an interview with SportsCentre.

Hubbard’s draft selection marks the first Alberta-born player to be drafted into the NFL since University of Alberta alumni Brian Fryer back in 1976.

He played three seasons as a running back for Oklahoma State University and has won several awards including the Jon Cornish Trophy in 2019.

The 22-year-old attended Bev Facey Community High School in Sherwood Park.

“It couldn’t happen to a better kid, he’s unbelievable and he worked so hard to get there,” said Tanner Stephens, the coach of the Bev Facey Falcons.

“He was so special that the sky was the limit for him and when he started doing what he was doing in Oklahoma State, (I thought) it was a real possibility.”

@Panthers Forever thankful for this opportunity. I’m just ready to work!! https://t.co/ek0zfaUFCs

— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) May 1, 2021

“Chuba’s a guy who stayed all three years here, he stayed in Alberta,” said Stephens. “It’s just such a motivation for kids.”

Hubbard's selection was notable in that he was the fourth Canadian drafted, tying the 2014 record for most Canucks picked. And with Iowa tackle Alaric Jackson of Windsor, Ont., and Oklahoma State linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga of Calgary both still on the board, there's an opportunity for that mark to be eclipsed.

Hubbard had to wait two days in order to hear his name called as the first-round selections were made Thursday night, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday.

Three Canadians were drafted Friday night.

Oregon safety Jevon Holland, of Coquitlam, B.C., went in the second round, No. 36 overall, to the Miami Dolphins.

Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste, of Montreal, and Tennessee receiver Josh Palmer, of Brampton, Ont., were taken in the third round by Washington and the L.A. Chargers, respectively.

Hubbard is excited to play with the Panthers, a team he grew up cheering for.

With files from The Canadian Press