Football

Ohio State Football 2018 Freshman Report — SAF Marcus Hooker

Marcus Hooker Ohio State Football Buckeyes

[This is the 24th-and-final chapter in a series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the 2018 signing class and the impact they had this past season, as well as the impact they could have this coming season.]

Marcus Hooker came to Ohio State from New Castle High School in New Castle, Pennsylvania. He was ranked the No. 60 cornerback in the 2018 recruiting class and the No. 640 player overall. He signed with the Buckeyes over offers from Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Bowling Green.

2018 Season

Marcus Hooker is the younger brother of former Ohio State All-American Malik Hooker. The elder Hooker had one of the all-time great single seasons in Buckeye football history in 2016, which was his only season as a starter. Like his brother, Marcus was also a fantastic basketball player.

Hooker’s career began inauspiciously with a season-opening suspension followed by an arm injury.

Hooker did end up playing in two games last year, recording one tackle.

By the middle of the season, he was listed on the depth chart at free safety — right behind third-teamer Brendon White.

Most of Hooker’s action came via special teams.

So Now What

It looks like there is now an opening at safety, which gives Marcus Hooker much more of an opportunity than he would have had if there were no schematic changes in this Ohio State defense.

Secondary coaches Jeff Hafley and Matt Barnes come into the 2019 season with a nearly-blank slate in terms of their opinions on Buckeye safeties, so this is a brand new day for every player competing for a starting spot.

With starting safety Jordan Fuller missing the spring due to injury, Hafley and Barnes will get a longer, more sustained look at each of their safety options. This is good news for the players involved, especially a guy like Marcus Hooker who will have a chance to exhibit what he can do at both spots.

If he shares even a hint of his brother’s playmaking ability, it will show this spring regardless of position.

Winning a job this spring will not be easy. Isaiah Pryor has starting experience and is a year older. Amir Riep is a junior with the ability to play either safety spot. Josh Proctor is a second-year player like Hooker, but he carries a recruiting pedigree with him that has people thinking he is going to play this year.

A number of different things can happen this spring at safety, and as long as Shaun Wade isn’t part of that group, this competition is going to be wide open.