Position series feature: Ryan Hubbell

Here's a closer look at one of the players that could have a breakout season for the University of Louisville football team – tight end Ryan Hubbell.

College football coaches spend so much time on recruiting these days that when players arrive on campus there usually isn't too many surprises about anything.

But there are a few exceptions.

University of Louisville tight end coach Sherrone Moore said early indications are the coaches landed a better prospect than expected with Ryan Hubbell.

The junior-college transfer from Iowa Western Community College joined the team in January, went through spring drills and is likely to play a key role for the Cardinals' offense this fall.

"He's better than we thought," Moore said. "We didn't know he was as good of a blocker as he is. He's long and lean and packs some pop that you wouldn't expect.

"It's still early, but so far Ryan has done a great job for us. He's pretty explosive and he has good hands and like I said, he's a better blocker than we expected."

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Hubbell is like all the newcomers. He can't speak to the media until he's played in a game, but Hubbell is likely to become a name that fans are familiar with this season at tight end.

Louisville coach Charlie Strong said he wants to have four tight ends ready and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson also lauded the early play of Hubbell.

"Ryan has been a tremendous addition," Watson said. "He is smart, tough and dependable and he's got skills to go along with it. He and his role in our offense he does an excellent job. I'm excited about what he can bring to the table."

Moore said he's trying to get Hubbell, senior Nate Nord and Chris White all equal reps at the position, while freshman Hunter Bowles is also worked in.

"I tell them blocking comes first and then we worry about catching the ball," Moore said. "Ryan has really listened on that and does a good job blocking."

Hubbell was a two-star JUCO prospect and had 16 catches for 250 yards and three touchdowns. He was named All-Midwest Conference. As a freshman, he caught 12 passes for 200 yards and two TDs in six games.

Hubbell prepped at Marion, Iowa, High School and was a full-qualifier, but opted to go the JUCO route because he was told he wasn't big enough to play tight end and didn't get a ton of attention in the recruiting.

At Iowa Western, Hubbell arrived at 220 pounds and played H-Back. But he was eventually moved to tight end and with his 4.7 40-yard speed has made it onto the roster at U of L and is likely to garner a lot of playing time.

"He works hard," Moore said. "He's put on some weight and this whole group, I never really have to coach their effort. They show a great deal of effort."

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