Hubbard Won Race To Be First Buckeye Fax

If you're looking for a standout in the 2014 Ohio State football signing class, you might not need to look any further than Sam Hubbard. The class' only five-star Scout.com recruit, Hubbard was also the first player to send in his letter of intent this morning after a challenge from the coaching staff.

The Ohio State coaching staff has repeatedly said that it wants football players with a competitive streak – players that will choke you to win a game of checkers, in the parlance of head coach Urban Meyer.

The Buckeyes must love Sam Hubbard, then.

The five-star linebacker out of Cincinnati Moeller kicked off National Signing Day for the Buckeyes when he sent in his letter of intent mere minutes after the 7 a.m. kickoff – in doing so becoming not just the first future Buckeye to light up OSU's fax machine today but also responding to a challenge from the coaching staff.

"I just woke up early with my parents and got all set up and then at 7 o'clock signed it and sent it in right away," he said. "I scanned it from my home computer. I was just really excited. I wanted to show my commitment, and (cornerbacks coach Kerry) Coombs said there was a little competition to see who could get it in first so I thought I'd try to win it."

Thus ended a recruiting process that has been settled since April when Hubbard committed to the Buckeyes, but it wasn't exactly the smoothest deal. Hubbard was originally committed to Notre Dame to play lacrosse before it became clear he was a high major Division I football recruit, and once the gridiron was clearly his future, he chose the Buckeyes.

LINK: Sam Hubbard Instant Impact

Now, Hubbard is the top player in the state of Ohio. He's done playing lacrosse for Moeller as he gets ready to report to Ohio State in June, and he's happy to have the recruiting process behind him.

"It's a relief, but I'm just thankful for the whole process," he said. "I had my time with it and I'm glad it's over, but I'm happy for everyone that I met and all the opportunities I was given. I'm really ready to focus and set my mind to being ready in June."

He's also happy to see a 23-member "Dream 14" class signed, sealed and delivered to the Buckeyes, who are rated fifth in Scout.com's ratings.

"It's really cool," he said. "The coaching staff did a great job with this class. They're great kids, great football players, and real competitive kids that all want to be successful. I'm real close with them all and I'm glad we're all in the same class."

Hubbard got to spend his signing day at home thanks to the severe weather that blanked Ohio on National Signing Day. So rather than have the traditional signing day ceremony at Moeller – which has been postponed until tomorrow – Hubbard was able to sit back, relax, go back to bed after sending in his paperwork and then watch the signing day coverage on television.

"It's fun to watch and sit back and not be in school," he said. "Coach Meyer did a great job talking to ESPN. Seeing all the kids that you've either talked to or gotten to know throughout the process and tried to recruit yourself just going to schools, it's fun to see what the future holds with all these kids."

Hubbard – the nation's No. 29-rated player – was also the only five-star player in Scout's ratings to sign with the Buckeyes, something he's well aware of.

"It's a little bit of pressure, but it's good pressure," he said. "I'm thankful for it, and the other recruiting services' rankings are just motivation. I'm not satisfied yet, but I'm just going to keep working."

The outside linebacker, who checks in at an imposing 6-6, is expecting to play a big role at Ohio State when he does arrive. Meyer said today that the coaching staff does not expect many of the defensive recruits to redshirt, and Hubbard is ready to be a key part of the Buckeyes' efforts going forward.

LINK: Don't Forget These Buckeye Commits

"That's what he told me when he came to visit me in school," he said of Meyer's assertion he be ready to play in 2014. "He said he doesn't want me redshirting. He wants me to be on special teams because we need some help. A lot of guys in my class are looking forward to making an impact early. The reason that they're bringing us in is to try to make an impact early because they are all such great players."

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