One of the members of Cincinnati’s extremely successful 10-man 2021 rookie class has unfortunately decided to walk away from football. In a tweet this afternoon, Bengals defensive end Wyatt Hubert cited his physical health as the root cause of his retirement.
“Unfortunately I have dealt with many injuries that have taken a permanent toll on my game, body, and performance on the field,” Hubert elaborated. “This decision has been difficult and humbling as I have been blessed to have made it to the NFL and be drafted by a great organization in the Cincinnati Bengals.”
Hubert never made it to the field at the NFL-level. In college, Hubert was a key contributor at Kansas State, starting about 2.5 of the 4 seasons he spent in Manhattan. After redshirting his first year, Hubert started seven of twelve games as a redshirt freshman ranking third in the nation among freshman in sacks per game. He started every remaining college game of his career after that, earning first team All Big 12 honors after leading the Wildcats in tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (7.0) as a redshirt sophomore.
Despite playing in two fewer games as a redshirt junior, Hubert increased his career highs with 13.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, good enough to earn him a second-consecutive year on the All Big 12 first team. As the only unanimous first team All Big 12 selection on defense, Hubert also earned votes as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year.
His two-year run of success led him to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Hubert was selected by Cincinnati in the seventh-round, but suffered a torn pectoral muscle before the season began, landing him on the reserve/non-football injury list.
A year later, it seems injuries like that have taken their toll on the 24-year-old, influencing him to change his career path before it harms him beyond repair. While the Bengals never got the privilege of seeing his contributions on the field, those who watched him rock the royal purple in college, know what a loss Cincinnati’s defense has suffered.