MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Years ago, Ja’Quay Hubbard was given a valuable piece of advice when it comes to having a successful football career.

“The leaner you stay, the longer you play.”

His mentor and godfather Mike Adams, a former NFL offensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers, shared that with Hubbard as he started high school.

It was that one sentence that fueled his fire as he pursued a career at the same position. He knew that if he wanted to make it to the next level, he had to make a change.

From his freshman year of high school through his sophomore year of college, Hubbard saw his hard work pay off in the form of a total transformation. He shed 100 pounds during that span.

Hubbard said with the weight gone, he was more mobile and elusive, but he also lost a lot of strength in the process.

“I got down to about 305 and was weak. Really weak. I wouldn’t have been an effective offensive lineman. I was doing straight cardio. I was just so worried about getting the weight off me,” Hubbard said.

Over the past two years, the WVU strength staff led by Mike Joseph helped Hubbard get back his power. He’s added more than 15 pounds of muscle and is now listed at 326 pounds on the WVU roster.

“I just really honed in. I knew if I wanted my dreams to come true and be an asset to this team, I had to take my conditioning and nutrition seriously, and that’s what I’ve done,” Hubbard said.

He’s been incredibly disciplined since arriving in Morgantown in the summer of 2020.

He altered his eating habits and lifestyle. He did extra workouts and conditioning. He even started regulating the temperature in his room at night to help his metabolism and his body recover.

Hubbard made all the necessary changes and sacrifices to set himself up for success on the field.

Sure, it had other health and lifestyle benefits, too, but he did it all for the love of the game.

“I cared so much about football. The doctor would say ‘you’re not worried about the health?’ I was but honestly, I was just worried about being able to pull and pick up a linebacker,” Hubbard said.

He’s come a long way from the offensive lineman who started his football career at Virginia in 2019. His body is totally different, but that doesn’t mean the work is over.

Hubbard’s goal is to be around 320 pounds by the start of the 2023 season.

“It’s a continuous battle,” Hubbard said. “I was born a big boy so sometimes I want the fried chicken over the salad, but then I think about Penn State and I take the salad right away”