Malik Hooker 'absolutely certain' that he will return in 2017
Malik Hooker rose from obscurity to nationwide fame this year, as a record breaking safety for Number two Ohio State. He mentioned, in a Dispatch interview on Monday, that he is in no rush to depart, even if some people believe that he may enroll in the NFL draft after the season is finished.
"At the moment, it is absolutely certain that I am returning to the Buckeyes" Hooker said.
Hooker is a year three sophomore from Pennsylvania, who did not obtain starting status before this season, following an apprenticeship behind Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell the prior two seasons. However, Hooker shot to notoriety in 2016, with six interceptions - featuring three that he sent back for touchdowns. That was a career record and a record for Ohio State's season.
One of Hooker's six interceptions gave the Buckeyes their first touchdown last Saturday, in the 30/27 victory over Michigan. Performances like these are why speculation was rife during the season that he may depart for the NFL. Nonetheless, Hooker says that he wants to focus on assisting his team, particularly the seniors, contribute to the Football Playoff and keep his growing fame in check.
"I am keeping my feet on the ground by staying humble" said Hooker. "This is because circumstances can change quickly, so I don't want to count my chickens".
"Therefore, just acting normal, like I am not a famous player, makes me feel as if I've earned the position I'm in".
Malik Hooker Pick-Six vs. Michigan