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Monday, July 29, 2013
Ohio State grabs commitment No. 16

By Brad Bournival

Ohio State certainly is doing its part to shore up positions of need in the 2014 recruiting class.

After landing ESPN 300 offensive guard Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) on Sunday, the Buckeyes hauled in four-star athlete Malik Hooker (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) on Monday. He is their 16th pledge in 2014 and picked Ohio State over Pittsburgh and Penn State.

Malik Hooker
Malik Hooker adds to a Buckeyes secondary that's long on talent.
Hooker, who is ranked as the 49th-best athlete and fifth best player in Pennsylvania, will play safety for the Buckeyes.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Hooker is Ohio State's 10th pledge in the 2014 class with a four-star rating. The Buckeyes have now landed one five-star, six four-star and six ESPN 300 pledges in the secondary in their last two classes.

“Being a Buckeye, it just feels as if I’m at home,” Hooker said. "I love the coaching staff. They just seem like they’re great guys. Even the first time I went there, I felt that spark that this was the place to be.”

With C.J. Barnett, Corey Brown, Christian Bryant and Jamie Wood out of eligibility after the fall, he should be able to step right in.

He’ll also join a young group of potential stars, as the 2013 class featured big names in the secondary in Vonn Bell, Eli Apple, Cam Burrows, Gareon Conley, Darron Lee and Jayme Thompson. Add ESPN 300 cornerback Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) from the 2014 class and the secondary could shine for years to come.

“Even though they’re losing those four key players I feel like they’re going to be just as good,” Hooker said. “I can’t make any promises, but I’ll go there and do what I have to do to help us win.”

In the past, it’s always been tough to get kids out of Pennsylvania for the Buckeyes, but Hooker saw a chance to jump in and help a team that wants to win a national championship sooner rather than later.

“Growing up I didn’t have a lot of stuff,” Hooker said. “I was always hungry. That’s what’s different about me. I’ll bring that commitment and hard work. I’ll always be a competitor. Not a lot of kids get this kind of attention because of where I’m at, but this is a lot pressure off of me.”

Hooker has already talked to Webb about the next step and he’s ready to step in Ohio State.

As far as being a Buckeye, he’s ready to make the trip to Columbus and see what it’s all about.

“I just felt that was the place to be,” Hooker said. “When I visit the next time, I’ll truly know what it means to be a Buckeye.”