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WVU OL Ja’Quay Hubbard: ‘When I Think of Penn State, I’ll Take the Salad’



WVU Football OL Ja’Quay Hubbard and Tony Mathis

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows it’s not easy. WVU football’s Ja’Quay Hubbard knows this better than most, but can serve as an example that it can be done.

Hubbard, West Virginia’s offensive lineman who lost about 100 pounds to pursue football, detailed his weight loss journey in his first ever press conference after a Spring practice. “From freshman year of high school to sophomore year of college, I lost like 100 pounds, roughly. But with that I was not in strength position that I needed to be,” said Hubbard about getting into the right playing shape.

How did he do it? “I really just honed in. I knew if I wanted to make my dreams come true and if I wanted to be an asset to this team, I had to take my condition and my nutrition serious.”

Even though it’s easier said than done, Hubbard explained that he stopped eating at night and drinking drinks that are high in sugar to get the weight off. He then had to up his game working out and lifting to get to 317 pounds, which is the weight he feels most comfortable playing at. When he was around 305, he didn’t feel strong enough, but adding an extra chunk now make him better equipped to deal with the battles offensive lineman face on every play.

The fact he perfected how to maintain his ideal weight has made him a teacher of sorts to other lineman or teammates in general who need to get to improve their body. When asked how he goes about mentoring others struggling with weight issues he said, “I try to give people tips, but I sometimes have to remind myself that ‘dude, they don’t want to lose weight like you’ and to calm down a little bit” with a big smile.

With all of that said, Hubbard can empathize with anyone who can’t seem to quit the unhealthy foods they love so much. “Sometimes I want fried chicken, sometimes I want a salad. When I think of Penn State, I’ll take the salad,” he joked about WVU’s season opening game in State College. It serves as some extra motivation for everyone on the Mountaineers, but especially for Hubbard as he looks to keep proving himself.

He grew up in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, a place that is no stranger to fans of the Nittany Lions. Penn State is, of course, a popular team for college fans all over the state. The other major football programs people tend to support, most notably in Western Pennsylvania are WVU, and the school that calls Pittsburgh home, Pitt.

After talking through his weight loss journey, Hubbard dropped a line that Mountaineer Nation may want to brand on a shirt: “I’m a Western PA kid, but I didn’t like Pitt. I never liked Pitt,” he emphasized for any fans wondering based on where he grew up.

Hubbard now enters his junior season at WVU, a place he always wanted to be, and a place he knew he had to transfer to one he received a call from the Mountaineers. A player who can learn to accomplish weight control like Hubbard is a player West Virginia will likely be able to trust if dealt with adversity.

Watch the whole conversation with Hubbard below.

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