Joe Hubener played quarterback in high school. But he really didn’t.
Before he became Kansas State’s starting quarterback because starter Jesse Ertz suffered a season-ending injury, before he almost led the Wildcats to an upset of then-No. 2 TCU with a four-touchdown performance, before he walked on at Kansas State, Hubener started and played a carousel of different positions in high school.
“He had a real knack for throwing the ball a mile,” Dustin McEwen, the man who coached Hubener at Cheney High told The Wichita Eagle on Sept. 10. “He unleashed bombs. I played college quarterback at Fort Hays State, and I could never throw the ball as far as he could. He was a great high school football player.”
Hubener is the complete package as an athlete. He stands 6’5” but packs 211 tightly coiled pounds into his modest frame. He’s so athletic and skilled that McEwen started him at wide receiver, tight end and defensive back. Hubener played on special teams, too.
But when Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder asked Hubener to walk on, he told Hubener he only needed him at one position — quarterback.
“He was athletic and he had good size to go along with it,” Snyder said in September. “When we realized that he could throw the ball well, it was just all kind of a fit. We have always liked to have athletic quarterbacks, and his experience at other positions demonstrated that.”
Hubener has that proverbial chip on his shoulder. Why shouldn’t he? He’s been doubted as a quarterback for much of his life.
“It’s just another opportunity to prove people wrong,” Hubener said before he played UTSA. “Ever since I was a little kid, I have been told I couldn’t play quarterback. This is my opportunity to show them they are wrong about me and that I can come out and play quarterback and be successful at this level.”
In six games this season, Hubener has thrown for 866 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. The Wildcats claim a 3-3 record and are coming off a 55-0 drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma. He admitted his confidence teetered during the game against the Sooners.
“I have to put it behind me and know that the team has shown that we can be successful,” Hubener said Tuesday. “I have shown that I can be successful and we have to put
He’s becoming more comfortable, and he’s starting to get the feel for playing quarterback at such a high level. Hubener now gets ready to face Texas, which is coming off an upset win against then-No. 10 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. But he’ll never stop to think about how he got to where he is now.
“It’s kind of surreal when you stop and think about it,” said Hubener when asked about his path. “I didn’t expect to be here. Once I started thinking realistically, I never expected to be where I’m at now.”
He appreciates how he got here and understands why he struggled. The knowledge, the wisdom, the confidence — it’s all part of his package.