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Ohio State DB Malik Hooker Declares For NFL Draft

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Ohio State safety Malik Hooker has decided to forego his final two years of eligibility and declare for the 2017 NFL draft. Hooker led the Buckeyes with seven interceptions this season.


Malik Hooker developed into one of the best defensive backs in the country during his redshirt sophomore season at Ohio State.

Now, he’s off to the NFL.

Hooker announced Monday on Twitter that he has decided to become an early entrant for the 2017 NFL draft, leaving the Buckeyes after just two seasons of play.

“This growth has led me to make one of the toughest yet most exciting decisions of my life,” Hooker wrote. “I have talked with my family and we have decided its [sic] best for me to forgo [sic] my remaining two years of eligibility and declare for the 2017 NFL draft.”

Hooker’s decision comes as a bit of a surprise. He stated in December that he would return for his redshirt junior season, then said after the Fiesta Bowl that he would discuss his future with his family. Hooker appears to be making the right move, though, as he’s considered a first-round pick, with some draft analysts believing he’ll be selected in the top 10 following a breakout season.

Hooker finished tied for third in the nation with seven interceptions, and he tied Western Michigan’s Darius Phillips with three returned for touchdowns. Hooker also was credited with four pass breakups and 11 passes defended.

Those numbers came when Hooker finally got the chance to play more. After entering Ohio State as a 3-star prospect, Hooker redshirted in 2014 and played mostly special teams last season.

Hooker might not be the only Buckeyes’ early entrant. Coach Urban Meyer and his staff are still waiting on decisions from J.T. Barrett, Curtis Samuel, Marshon Lattimore and Raekwon McMillan, among others.

MORE: Michigan QB Shane Morris Officially Announces Transfer

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