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Pitt in contact with Virginia transfer Ja’Quay Hubbard

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The 6'5", 335-pound offensive tackle is originally from western Pennsylvania

NCAA Football: Florida State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt coaching staff have been hard at work on the recruiting front this offseason, and their efforts have included monitoring the NCAA transfer portal for talented players who could contribute at Pitt. One such transfer Pitt has been in contact with is Ja’Quay Hubbard, a massive offensive lineman from western Pennsylvania who is looking to transfer from Virginia.

The 6’5”, 335-pound offensive lineman officially announced his entry into the transfer portal last Friday after discussing the decision with his family, and since then, he has heard from Florida, Iowa State, Michigan, Mississippi State, Rutgers and West Virginia in addition to Pitt. However, it has been known that he would transfer since March, as Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall informed the media of the lineman’s departure in a video conference.

“It was more of a business decision on me and my family’s behalf,” Hubbard said of his decision to transfer, per Chase Evans of WKBN. “There’s nothing but love for the University of Virginia. But opportunities with teams that have already been contacting me could even give me a bigger boost to win a national championship. Ultimately that’s my goal and to play at the highest level.”

“Whoever gets me, first of all, they’re getting someone coach-able,” Hubbard continued. “I love knowledge, and you’re getting a hard worker. I’m going to bust my tail. I’ve lost 117 pounds, and I take that same mindset into academics, into getting lean muscle-wise and into the community as well. Lastly, you’re getting someone loyal. I will learn under the staff, learn the ways of the team and the system, and I will be great.”

Hubbard is a former four-star recruit from Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, a small town in Mercer County near the Ohio border. During his time at Sharpsville High School, he earned all-state honors twice as an offensive tackle and helped the Blue Devils reach a district championship. He was also a finalist for Pennsylvania’s Mr. Football award.

Prior to committing to Virginia in 2018, the lineman drew a total of 14 scholarship offers, including one from Pitt. However, Virginia and Mississippi State were the only schools where he took official visits. Some notable programs that previously offered Hubbard include Cincinnati, Louisville, Syracuse and Temple. And he showed interest in Penn State but never received an offer from the program.

Hubbard would bolster a position of need if he decided to transfer to Pitt, as the team’s offensive tackles struggled last season. Pro Football Focus ranked them as the fifth-worst offensive tackles in the FBS in 2019, and their poor play saw Pitt signal-caller Kenny Pickett under duress on a regular basis. As a result, the Panthers offense was often stagnant. But with some added size and skill in underclassmen like Michael Statham and Matt Goncalves, that weakness could soon be a strength. And adding Hubbard would only hasten the offensive line’s improvement.

A decision from Hubbard may come within the next month. However, he has not set an official date for his transfer announcement. He will have four years of eligibility remaining after redshirting with Virginia in 2019.