Ohio State lost a lot of players off of last year’s team and especially on defense. They lost 3 out of 4 starters in the Defensive Line, including Joey Bosa. They lost 2 out of 3 Linebackers.and 3 out of 4 Defensive Backs.
But, Urban Meyer and his staff have recruited lights out in recent years. Only maybe Alabama, Florida State, or even Ole Miss have recruited as well as the Buckeyes. Ohio State had more players drafted in last year’s NFL Draft.
In spite of NFL losses, there’s plenty more talent where those guys came from.
Sam Hubbard is in for Joey Bosa and the drop off is not as much as expected. Hubbard can play. New Linebackers Sam Baker and Chris Worley can play as well, as can Linebacker Joe Burger.
In the backfield, Malik Hooker, Erick Smith, Marshon Lattimore, Rodjay Burns and Damon Web
b have replaced Eli Apple, Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell.
Hooker already has 3 Interceptions, Lattimore has 2 more with Gareon Conley and Rodjay Burns having 1 apiece.
After 2 games, the Buckeyes have returned 3 Interceptions for Touchdowns with Hooker, Lattimore and Burns each taking one back. Burns was a 75 yard return against Bowling Green in game one. While Hooker and Lattimore picked off a pass each against Tulsa in the first half when their offense was struggling and both of them returned them for Touchdowns. The scores help put some distance between the Ohio State score and the Tulsa score and the tail kicking was on.
The Buckeye’s 2014 recruiting class was almost as talented as their 2013 class that most credit with bringing them the national title in 2014. They were considered the second coming of the Super Sophomores of 1968.
That talented 2014 class had Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, Marshon Lattimore, Damon Webb, Jamarco Jones, Dante Booker, Curtis Samuel, Jalyn Samuel, Erick Smith, Sam Hubbard and Malik Hooker just to name a few of the more prominent ones. All of those guys were 4 recruits except for McMillan who was a 5 star and Hubbard who was a 3 star.
Malik Hooker was a 4 star recruit from New Castle, Pennsylvania. ESPN had him as their 50th best Athlete, but in his first 2 games as a starter he’s already proven to be better than that ranking.
The 6-2, 205 Safety, is currently second on the Buckeye team in tackles behind Middle Linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
But, what has brought Malik Hooker to the attention of the entire nation with an incredible
Interception in the Buckeyes’ opening game against Bowling Green.
Hooker leaped high in the air and got one hand on the ball and knocked it up in the air and then landed on his back while bringing in the ball for one spectacular Interception. This play was shown on every sports station in the country and put Hooker on the football map.
Malik Hooker, Raekwon McMillan and the rest of the Ohio State Buckeyes will be tested on September 17th when they travel to Norman, Oklahoma and take on the Sooners.
This game would have been a great early season match up between top 5 teams if Oklahoma had not lost to Houston in week 1.
But, it’s still a very meaningful early season game. It’s a very important game for Oklahoma especially as 2 losses will eliminate them from the playoff picture entirely.
Ohio State won the national title in 2014 after an early season loss to a bad Virginia Tech team.
If you happen to check out the Ohio State vs Oklahoma game on Saturday, don’t just watch the Quarterbacks. Keep an eye on Ohio State’s number 24, Malik Hooker. He could be one of the nation’s best Defensive Backs.