In what was a trying year at Bank of America Stadium for Matt Rhule’s squad after finishing with five wins for the second consecutive year despite a 3-0 start, there were multiple bright spots across the 2021 season for the Carolina Panthers.
Whether it was the inspired play of a much-improved pass rush, the return of one of the most beloved players in franchise history or a young pass catcher continuing to make history with his production on the field – and continuing to help his community off of it – the Carolina Panthers found ways to shine in 2021.
The second annual Roaring Riot Awards, which are voted on by the most loyal and rabid fans of the Carolina Panthers, honors the performances of those Panthers who have gone above and beyond both on and off the field. Wide receiver DJ Moore was named 2021’s Offensive Player of the Year, and the winner on the opposite side of the ball was 2021 Defensive Player of the Year Haason Reddick.
The Roaring Riot voted in a landslide – over 70% of the vote – to award the 2021 Rookie of the Year Award to running back Chuba Hubbard.
The fourth-round pick from Oklahoma State finished with 612 yards on 172 carries and reaching the end zone five times – he also added 25 receptions for 174 yards and a score through the air. Hubbard’s season was one of the ten best from a Canadian-born player – in an interesting twist, two of the more productive years for a rusher from north of the border were from former Panthers first-round pick Tim Biakabutuka.
Hubbard received the bulk of the action in the backfield with Christian McCaffrey missing most of the season and the 22-year old was up for the task.
His five rushing touchdowns this season are the most by a rookie running back in a season since Jonathan Stewart – In Week 5 against Philadelphia, Hubbard became the first Panthers rookie RB to rush for 100+ yards since Stewart in 2008. Hubbard is one of only four rookies in Panthers history to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game, joining Brad Hoover, DeAngelo Williams and Stewart. Hubbard finished that game with 134 scrimmage yards – 101 rushing yards and 33 receiving yards on five receptions.
The Panthers running back finished the year fifth among rookies in rushing yards, fourth in touches and second in rushing touchdowns among first-year players.