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With spread offenses invading even the traditionally run-heavy Big Ten, proponents of "old-school" pro-style attacks like Kirk Ferentz have been forced to find creative ways of adding speed to the defense without sacrificing size and physicality.
That task was made easier in 2018 with the emergence of Hooker, who stepped out of the shadows and into Big Ten passing lanes, intercepting four passes and breaking up three others (along with 65 tackles). He earned the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year Award, making it the third time in the past four seasons a Hawkeye has been so honored (Desmond King-2015, Josh Jackson-2017).
After recording just four tackles as a freshman, Hooker took big strides as a sophomore, starting six games (including the first two of his career at free safety) and recording 56 tackles and two interceptions, including a pick-six against Ohio State.
Looks the part of a five-year NFL veteran already with thick, broad-shouldered frame and excellent overall weight distribution. Easy mover with greasy knees, loose hips and light feet which allow him to dance in and out of tight spaces like a slalom skier. Highly instinctive and trusts his eyes, immediately racing toward the ball whether in run support or in coverage. Shows confidence to bait quarterbacks as well as the closing speed to undercut targets to steal the ball.
Highly aggressive, confident tackler, often racing in at full speed to cut out the legs of ballcarriers. Takes highly aggressive - borderline reckless - angles to the ball and does have some over-pursuit slip-ups on tape. Varies his strike zone as a tackler, showing no hesitation to take on bigger opponents high, as well as the strength to drag them to the ground on his own.
Shows exceptional ball-skills for a defensive back with several highlight-reel worthy grabs on tape, demonstrating excellent hand-eye coordination, body control and timing on his leaps. Spent much of his time at nickel, offering immediate impact potential there or safety.
Projection: Second Round
--Field Level Media
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