Malik Hooker Says Goodbye to Two Remaining Years at OSU, Will Enter NFL Draft
PHOENIX — To no surprise, Ohio State redshirt safety Malik Hooker announced on Monday his intention to forego his final two years of eligibility and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
He announced his decision via Twitter, addressing his tweet to Buckeye Nation.
"The past three years have been among the most trying yet most fulfilling years of my life," he wrote. "Even though my time here didn’t start off the way I planned, I have gained a love and appreciation for Columbus that is hard to put into words. I can’t thank my OSU family enough for taking in a small-town kid like myself and allowing me to grow into a man. Thanks to my teachers, coaches, and my fellow Buckeyes, I’ve grown considerably both as a football player and as a person.
"This growth has led me to make one of the toughest yet most exciting decisions of my life. I have talked with my family and we have decided it’s best for me to forgo my remaining two years of eligibility and declare for the 2017 NFL draft. I want to thank God first and foremost for blessing me with the opportunity to make this decision, my family, and my friends for getting me to where I am today I have built friendships that will forever last.
"And of course, I would like to extend my thanks to Buckeye Nation! It’s been a pleasure to be able to compete at the highest level with the best fans and band in the Nation! I can’t way to build upon the legacy that is THE Ohio State University each and every Sunday on the gridiron. OH-IO! Until Next Time."
Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell recently told a story about recruiting Hooker, saying that when he and Meyer went to watch him play basketball, Hooker scored over 30 points and did it without a jump shot. Had he not been so tenacious and aggressive on the court that night, they may not have decided to offer him.
Now Hooker will leave Ohio State after just one year as a starter, but what a year it was. He finished third on the team with 74 tackles, and also added 5.5 tackles for loss. His seven interceptions were good for third in the nation and his three touchdowns were the best in college football.
He is viewed as a possible Top 10 pick.
Hooker has been backed up by junior Erick Smith this season. Smith also backed up Tyvis Powell in 2014. The rising senior will likely begin the spring as the No. 1 strong safety when camp gets under way in March.