Sam Hubbard is enrolled in Ohio State’s prestigious Fisher School of Business. He is carrying a 3.6 grade-point average and is on schedule to graduate in December with a degree in finance.

In other words, he is good with numbers, especially as they pertain to dollars and cents. But it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that the OSU defensive end eschewed a chance to earn a lot of money now in favor of returning for a fourth year with the Buckeyes.

He and fellow defensive end Tyquan Lewis, the Big Ten defensive lineman of the year in 2016 who also opted to return for his senior season, have been projected in a couple of 2018 mock NFL drafts as potential mid-first round picks.

But say they had both left for the 2017 draft and were picked in round two. Spotrac, a website that tracks salaries, bonuses and such, reported that the last player drafted in the second round could expect an initial contract of $4.158 million.

Hubbard said he understands all the math, but he also has a college checklist that’s not complete.

“I’m on track to graduate, finish my degree; I’m upping my game at a quick rate with (line) coach (Larry) Johnson,” Hubbard said. “He is going to take my game to another level, and that’s what I really want to do. Another year is really going to benefit me.”

Hubbard did make pre-draft inquiries, however, through the connections that Johnson and OSU’s football performance director Mickey Marotti have with NFL scouts about improvements in his game that they would like to see.

“They just said that on pass-rushing moves, setting up (opponents) with some power, and then flipping your hips better,” Hubbard said. “It’s just all hips and hands.”

And feet. For sure Hubbard has fast feet. He was a playmaking safety at Cincinnati Moeller. He now is 6 feet 6 and weighs 268 pounds, but still has the quickness that at one time had him committed to Notre Dame on a lacrosse scholarship.

“You can see that he’s an athlete who has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, but he moves with that kind of efficiency that you can tell,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said.

It’s one reason why the coaches had Hubbard drop into coverage on zone-blitz calls at times last season. It’s an aspect that Johnson and Schiano want to take advantage of more next season, using the depth at defensive end which includes Jalyn Holmes, Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones in some packages — perhaps all five at the same time — meant to harass the opposing quarterback.

Ohio State ran some plays during spring practice that started with Hubbard standing up like a linebacker before the snap, not betraying whether he was about to rush the quarterback or drop into coverage. Fans saw a glimpse of that in Hubbard's limited playing time in the spring game. 

“It’s been fun,” Hubbard said. “We’ve all been working on different skill sets. … We’ll see how it plays out. Coach Johnson has something up his sleeve.”