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January 23, 2014

Hubbard looks to win over NFL teams

MOBILE | Throughout his time in the University of Alabama football program, outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard was oft-described as a player with lots of potential.

It wasn't that he didn't produce on the field for the Crimson Tide. He did. But a quick look at his 6-foot-6, 252-pound frame up close combined with a massive wingspan and it was easy to conclude that Hubbard had the potential to be an elite player.

Off the field, he's thoughtful and articulate, so during this week at the Senior Bowl it's easy to envision a National Football League team falling in love with all that Hubbard is and all that he could be.

His production fell off from his sophomore to junior year. Hubbard said that falls on him.

"I knew coming into the season I'd have to take on different roles because different guys left," he said. "I played two extra positions this year. I've been playing in coach (Nick) Saban's defense for a long time. Adaptability is a big thing there. Me learning new positions should never be a reason why I shouldn't play well. It shouldn't be a reason why anyone doesn't play well. I think my game, if people will say it slipped this year, the only reason it slipped was because of Adrian Hubbard."

He recorded 33 total tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, and four quarterback hurries his junior season a year after making 11 stops behind the line and seven sacks. Experts predicted a big 2013 for Hubbard, but it never materialized.

He's hoping to win over NFL teams this week at the Senior Bowl by showing them what he's capable of and by revealing his character.

"I think everyone has a poker face right now," he said. "They don't want to give you too much information. I want to sell every team that I'm their guy. I can bring a passionate player, you know, a born leader. I come from a good background in my family. Integrity is a big thing in my family. What you're getting with me is a positive guy on the field, a guy that's going to push (his teammates). I'm just there to help better my teammates."

He opted to forego his senior season after discussing it with his tight-knit family. He considered leaving after his sophomore season (he redshirted as a freshman in 2010), but was rather quickly talked out of it.

"My grandmother and my mom really pushed me to graduate," he said. "I could've easily left last year, but I would've left with nothing. I'm not getting paid right out of college. I don't even care about getting paid. I just love the game of football, and I would love to play for a team.

"But as for graduating, my grandmother is a literature teacher at Southern Miss. She harped on me about graduating. I would be the first male to graduate in my family to graduate, and I kind of wanted to start that tradition. So if my kids say they don't want to go to college I can say, 'You're going' because I started that."

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.

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Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron.suttles@tuscaloosanews.com or 205.722.0229.

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