ANN ARBOR, Mich. – At both the college and high school level, the current focus is on winning in Ann Arbor.
At Pioneer High School, just a short distance from Michigan Stadium, the Pioneers have put together a 6-2 record and are picking up steam. With a berth in the playoffs clinched already, junior linebacker Derrick Hubbard is pleased with how the 2015 season has developed thus far.
“We actually are playing really, really good,” Hubbard told Today’s U. “For me, the season is going really good with the team I’m on. I like it a lot. It’s like one of the closest teams I’ve been on. I have been making a lot more plays with what they want me to do. Last year I was young and had my eyes in the backfield doing what I wanted to do. Now I’m doing my job so I can make better plays.”
Hubbard, who stands 6-foot-2 and 205-pounds, is unsure of his tackle total, but the junior athlete has amassed 10 tackles for loss already, making an impact near the line of scrimmage and often in the backfield.
“I play fast,” Hubbard said. “I get off blocks quick. I’m always in the quarterback’s head trying to take him down no matter where he’s at and I think pass rush is my biggest strength because of my speed off the line. In run support I don’t usually always make the tackle, but I do make the plays.”
At this point in his development, most schools project Hubbard to continue playing at linebacker, although the class of 2017 prospect says it “doesn’t matter” as long as he’s playing football. Hubbard does indicate that his recruiting process is going well and touched on the state of his collegiate interest as a coveted recruit in Southeast Michigan.
“It’s been going great,” Hubbard said. “I’ve been taking it slowly with a lot of coaches and building these relationships. I have my options and I’m still trying to get more options. It’s been good.”
Hubbard, who currently holds an offer from Toledo, took a visit to Michigan last weekend as the Wolverines hosted Michigan State in what was a classic rivalry matchup between the two squads.
“That was a crazy atmosphere,” Hubbard said. “That is personally one of the biggest games I’ve ever been to. That [finish] was just crazy. That was the last thing you would ever expect. I thought Michigan had the win, but Michigan State finished right there. They just finished.
“The crowd was amazing. Michigan had all the fans come out to the game and fill the stands. That showed that they really support Michigan. It’s a great place to be. Coming into that game with the crazy atmosphere, it’s probably one of the biggest games I’ve been to.”
So far this season, Hubbard has made trips to visit Purdue, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan. Hubbard described his time on the Boilermakers’ campus and compared it to his most recent trip to Michigan.
“The Purdue game, that was really smooth,” Hubbard said. “It was a smooth process. We came in for the presentation and the pep rally before we went to the field. It was smooth to see how things worked out there.
“I’ve been to Michigan a few times. When I came over there, it was kind of like they expected me to be there, and it was crazy. They put a show on for us.”
Click here to watch Hubbard’s midseason junior highlight tape.