Better Know a Buckeye: Malik Hooker

By Vico on May 22, 2014 at 11:00a
Malik Hooker
17 Comments

The 15th installment of this 23-part Better Know a Buckeye series profiles Malik Hooker, a defensive back prospect from New Castle, Pennsylvania. Little has been said of him and not much footage of him is available. Likely a safety, he is part of a recruiting class that features Army All-American Erick Smith and other Army All-American defensive backs like Damon Webb and Marshon Lattimore. Hooker might be a forgotten man in this recruiting class.

He is also an intriguing athlete who could have the highest ceiling of any defensive back in the class even if he has the longest way to go. I retell his brief recruitment here, though it did not consist of much. Thereafter, I discuss strengths and areas for improvement before suggesting a redshirt in 2014 is in order. I conclude with miscellaneous things about Malik Hooker you may find interesting or worth reading.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 185
High School: New Castle Junior/Senior High School; New Castle, PA

His Recruitment

Malik Hooker was noticed by Ohio State near the conclusion of his junior year, resulting in a verbal scholarship offer on May 7, 2013. By that time, Hooker listed offers from Arizona, Buffalo, Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Youngstown State. This is a good list of programs from which to choose, including two Big Ten schools (three with Ohio State included), but it is sparse.

This can be attributed to the fact Hooker only started playing organized football in 2012, his junior year. He was previously a standout guard on New Castle's basketball team, which had won the past two WPIAL championships. He spent his summers on the AAU basketball circuit, not in football camps. He had drawn interest from some smaller basketball programs like Cleveland State and Florida Atlantic. He also had an offer to play basketball at the U.S. Naval Academy. 

However, one year of football as an upperclassmen drew immediate attention and scholarship offers from regional heavyweights like Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Ohio State. Hooker said he would keep his options open, but it became clear that he was getting better football opportunities than he was receiving opportunities for basketball. He took an unofficial visit to Ohio State in the middle of June. He did not participate in an ongoing camp but had good things to say about the trip.

By the end of June, Hooker had a top five of Ohio State, West Virginia, Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Penn State. He said that those school were not in order by preference, but reading tea leaves here would have been appropriate. That he mentioned Ohio State first in a comment to a Michigan 247sports affiliate was telling.

Not much was said about Hooker for a month before he made his decision.

His Commitment

On July 29, 2013, Malik Hooker committed to Ohio State as the 15th member of its 2014 recruiting class.

Hooker said little of his recruitment and did not elaborate his decision with some detail. His comment to 247sports suggested that it was Ohio State against the field the moment Ohio State offered.

"The first time I was there it just felt right. I just felt the spark that it was the place to be. One visit was enough for me. I just felt like I was at home and the coaching staff, they're all great people."

Hooker chose Ohio State over West Virginia, Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Penn State.

Where He Excels

Playing organized football for only two years, Hooker's small but notable offer sheet is a result of his athletic potential. Ohio State does not want for athletes in its recruiting class and Hooker could be one of the top five athletes among the class' 23 members.

He could conceivably be a wide receiver too. He has the ball skills for it even if all expectations for him is to enlist as a safety prospect.

Still, firm judgments of his strengths are hard to make. He has only played organized football for two years and what highlights film are available may not be informative. Biggest thing I saw is a running and jumping ability that translated well from his time playing basketball. Hooker looks comfortable with the ball in the air and demonstrates an ability to high-point it over an opposing player.

Must Work On

Hooker's mind needs to get on his body's level. Safety will be more than center field (to use a baseball metaphor) for football at the major college level. There is so much about football and fundamentals that Hooker will need to learn.

Redshirt?

Yes. Hooker's ceiling is high but it could be two years before he is capable of making a presence in the two-deep at safety for Chris Ash. A redshirt will help.

Highlights

Because of Hooker's sui generis football career, this will be a two-fer. The senior year film comes first.

This is from his junior year.

Miscellany

17 Comments

Comments

Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Welcome aboard young man

+2 HS
Horvath22's picture

Why, when I look at, and read about Malik Hooker, do I think Chris Gamble?

+2 HS
Barnsey69's picture

I think he will be a good one, don't really know why, I just do. My people radar is pretty good...except for that whole ex-wife miss of course.

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

+8 HS
HighBallAce's picture

LOL....I had a miss like that too but ended up with a bulls eye with my daughters.

+2 HS
gobucks96's picture

A safety who plays the ball well. Yeah, we need more of those...

Squirrel Master's picture

not this year but next year OSU could have Conley (6'0''), Apple (6'1''), Vonn Bell (5'11''), Ty Powell (6'3''), Hooker (6'2'', but some say he is a full 6'3''), Marshon Lattimore (6'0''), Erick Smith (6'1''), Cam Burrows (6'0''), Chris Worley (6'2'', might be a LB though) and the shortest is Damon Webb (5'10''). Damon Webb doesn't play short either.

that is a huge defensive backfield. and we know half of them are 4.4 guys. If Ash can put it all together, they should be a lockdown unit.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+9 HS
whobdis's picture

Yep..Urban has worked hard to give the DC some studs to work with.

 

+2 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

I said it in a previous forum-Urban spent time with Pete Carroll.  The size of Seattle's secondary had to be part of it.  If you look at what we are recruiting, it makes sense.

 

D-Lineman who can move and get after the QB, and DBs big enough to swallow up WRs.  If the LBs can step up and make plays, especially in the Middle (Like Bobby Wagner), we could be looking at a significant improvement.

+1 HS
whobdis's picture

Your right about the video..kind of hard to predict what they will have him do. Guys like this are always fun to watch develop. I think Noah Brown is another guy that could play a number of spots. Next year at this time we will probably have forgotten about them and be talking about the incoming freshman. Meanwhile they have been building themselves up and learning their position. I bet coaches love getting guys like this..all the tools just needed molded into a football player..
 

+1 HS
CincyBuckeye31's picture

Kid looks like an amazing athlete.  Hopefully a RS year will do him some good and he becomes a great safety at tOSU.

+1 HS
osubuck57's picture

Really excited for our "Secondary" this year!! I think we will see a much improved unit on the field, and that's with Roby gone. They're young, and will make some mistakes, but think they'll be flying around the ball, ready to make plays. Hopefully the tackling improves as well. Hooker probably flies under the radar, with so much talent in secondary, but he could see the field in year 2.

SCOTTC.

SharkBuck's picture

Nice write up. I would love to have links to the prior BKABs at the bottom of this piece. I am sure I missed some.

Sharkbuck

+1 HS
Toilrt Paper's picture

I hope one of his good qualities is patience.

+2 HS
Shangheyed's picture

If he is playing Safety he will need to be able to lay the smack down on people.... that is not necessarily something that can be trained its in your blood.... hopefully he has that in him as well as the amazing athletic ability.  Rooting for him and as other's have proven its not the stars that get you on the field, its the work you do in practice and outside of practice that gets you in the 2 deep.

SilverBullet-98's picture

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

This class 2014, will go down as one of the best recruiting classes EVER at Ohio St for Skill players.

6-7 years from now, when we look back at this class we will be amazed with this group of talent.

"The Past Builds the Future"

klfeck's picture

Great vision, good speed, and a hitter. Glad to have him on board.

Kevin
OH!!!!!
Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

wyatt's picture

I like what I see.