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Malik Hooker Already Ranks Among Ohio State’s Great Football Products

Posted Jun 28, 2017

Intro: To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Conference, Land Of 10’s Ben Axelrod recently ranked the Top 100 Ohio State football players in its history, which featured a 2017 Colts rookie safety.

INDIANAPOLIS — Malik Hooker’s time at Ohio State, at least when it came to his impact on the football field, was brief.

But he apparently left quite the impression.

After just two seasons playing for the Buckeyes — only one of which as a full-time starter — before he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, Hooker recently was ranked in Land Of 10’s list of the Top 100 Ohio State football players of all-time.

Writer Ben Axelrod ranked Hooker, a standout safety, at No. 65. Here’s what he wrote (you can access the entire list of those ranked 61-70 by clicking here):

No. 65: S Malik Hooker (2014-16)
Like Jim Lachey, Malik Hooker was somewhat of a one-hit wonder in his college career. But all it took was one season for the New Castle, Pa., native to assert himself as one of the most talented defensive backs in Ohio State history.

A former 3-star prospect, Hooker arrived in Columbus as a raw talent and redshirted in his freshman year. In 2015, he shined on special teams before succeeding All-American safety Vonn Bell in the Buckeyes’ starting lineup.

It didn’t take long for Hooker to make his mark as he had two interceptions against Bowling Green in his first start. By year’s end, he had earned unanimous All-American honors with 74 tackles, 5 1/2  of which came for a loss, and 7 interceptions — 3 of which he returned for touchdowns.

A freak athlete in every sense, there may not have ever been a defensive player as dazzling with the ball in his hands as Hooker was. After just a single season of stardom, he declared for the 2017 NFL Draft, where the Indianapolis Colts selected him in the first round with the No. 15 overall pick.

(Land Of 10, by the way, is releasing Top 100 players lists to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Big Ten Conference, which got its start in June 1917 when Michigan re-joined to create a 10-team league. So you can expect more Colts players to be featured in the near future.)

But back to Hooker: that “dazzling” attribute was assuredly why Colts general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Chuck Pagano were each so ecstatic to see Hooker, a player believed by many to be a Top 10 pick, fall to the Colts at 15th overall.

The hope now is that Hooker, who is still recovering from January surgery to both his hip and his labrum, can come in and make a similar instant impact for the Indianapolis defense as its “centerfielder.”

But Hooker certainly isn’t feeling any pressure, in case you were wondering.

“They just want me to go out there and be me,” Hooker said last month when asked what he’s heard from the coaching staff as far as expectations this season. “They didn’t put too much pressure on me to go out there and do anything spectacular. Just get in the playbook and be yourself because that’s why they drafted me.”




The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.
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