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Ohio State’s Malik Hooker is drawing high grades heading into the NFL Draft

His teammates are drawing great recognition too.

Indiana v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

“A top-10 selection would come as no surprise.”

- Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated

Burke is of course, talking about Malik Hooker. Hooker wasn’t talked about nationally as much as many other players, but there’s no question he was one of the best defensive players in the nation this past season. He was a complete player as a redshirt sophomore, and has drawn comparisons to arguably the best NFL safety of all time, Ed Reed. Hooker is currently the No. 16 prospect on SI’s big board. The only other top 25 prospect on it is cornerback Marshon Lattimore (who is the No. 25 prospect), another player that perhaps didn’t get the national respect and recognition that he deserved. Lattimore, like Hooker, seems more than ready to defend NFL receivers early on.

Going further down the list is center Pat Elflein at No. 35. Elflein is versatile for an offensive lineman, being able to play at the guard or center positions. As Burke mentions, his ability to pull in the run game can really make an improvement to an offensive line fast, so don’t expect him to be on the board for long. At No.’s 41 and 44 come Gareon Conley and Raekwon McMillan respectively. Both were always making big plays for the Buckeye defense, and were important pieces, just as the aforementioned players were, that Columbus is going to miss.

“Funny how getting beat by 23 points can sometimes serve as a wake-up call.”

- Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group

The Buckeyes were brutally beaten by Wisconsin over the weekend. It got out of hand fast, and was a tough game to watch — one that visibly had Thad Matta as frustrated as any of us have ever seen him. Thankfully, they were able to overcome that loss by following it up with a win over Michigan State. Who, while not appearing to be the national power they always are, is still a good team to deal with in the Big Ten. It was the Buckeyes’ first Big Ten victory this season, where they are currently 1-4. Winning against Nebraska on Wednesday would be a good start to (hopefully) some continuity, but as we’ve seen this this group of players, you almost never know what you’re going to see each game.

Matta is optimistic, though. "Hopefully we're learning from game to game to game being on the road, what it takes," Matta said. "You gotta go, you gotta play. Sunday did we play perfect? No, not even close to perfect. That was what we hammered home: There are still some areas we can better at, but there has to be a level of activity." That seems like an entirely fair message to deliver. Ohio State’s win over Michigan State was good, but they can absolutely be better. We saw them hang with UCLA earlier this season, which would indicate that the Buckeyes can play with the more talented teams in the nation. Yet it’s all about putting it together on a consistent basis, and improving as the season goes along. Matta will hope to see that Wednesday night.

Philip Rivers and Joey Bosa went on Jimmy Kimmel Live representing the now Los Angeles Chargers to talk about the move from San Diego. Bosa was recently named the PFWA’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, and is clearly doing just fine for himself since transitioning to the NFL. Kimmel had Bosa and Rivers swear in to Los Angeles. It included trying to be better the Rams, embodying the spirit of Los Angeles, including a handful of other stereotypes for Los Angeles residents.

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