Ryan Hubbell finds success in opportunity

Tight end Ryan Hubbell chose to become a Cardinal last December because he saw the opportunities to existed at Louisville. Nearly a year later and the former junior college All-Conference performer is finding success in that opportunity.

Tight end Ryan Hubbell's chase for an opportunity to contribute as a tight end at a major program was realized when he committed to the University of Louisville last December. Following a prep career at Marion (Iowa) High School, Hubbell attracted little recruiting interest and chose to enroll at Iowa Western Junior College where he continued to improve his size and strength.

Interest began to build and scholarships started to arrive. Hubbell developed into an All-Conference performer. After narrowing his choices down to Louisville and Northern Illinois, Hubbell chose the Cardinals for the chance to contribute for a winning program.

"The opportunity to play and the opportunity to be on a good team," he said of his decision to come to U of L. "I knew what they had coming back because I did my own research and saw that. I knew that there was an opportunity to have a big season and that's what it is."

Due to an immediate need for a tight end, Charlie Strong, who prefers to recruit from the high school ranks, took an extra look at Hubbell.

"Hubbell was special," head coach Charlie Strong said. "He was a qualifier coming out of high school and went to junior college to get recruited. We knew he was athletic, but just didn't know just how physical he was. He's a really good player for us."

Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson first became aware of Hubbell during his time recruiting as a member of the Nebraska coaching staff and served as his primary recruiter last year.

"He had a lot of length and he could run, which you saw Saturday." he said, adding, "and he has great hands."

In Louisville's 45-17 win over Temple, Hubbell provided a spark for a team that struggled early with the Owls. Trailing 14-7 in the first quarter, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater found Hubbell open in the middle of the field for a 72-yard touchdown play.

"After that play, everybody started to pick it up a little, and we didn't go down from there," he said following the game.

In his first season with the Cardinals, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound tight end has played a crucial role in the Cardinals passing game. He's played in all nine games, totaling nine receptions for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 18.1 yards per catch average is second best on the team, trailing only DeVante Parker.

Like the team, Hubbell continues to develop and is still discovering his potential.

"He's has to gain weight and still in process of developing himself in terms or strength and exposing strength when it comes to weight training - still a work in progress," said Watson. "He's done those things in practice - as he continues to grow will be a force to be reckoned with."

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