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What does Marcus Hooker bring to Ohio State

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Ohio State has a new legacy family.

Sean Fitz - 247sports

A little over four years ago, Ohio State extended an offer to an under the radar, three-star defensive back named Malik Hooker on the recommendation of then defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. He was extremely raw, but an athletic freak, with enormous upside. Thanks to some excellent coaching by Fickell, Greg Schiano, and Kerry Coombs, Malik was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2016 draft, despite spending just one year as a starter in Columbus.

Ohio State is hoping they can strike gold again, as just moments ago, Malik’s younger brother, Marcus, committed to Ohio State, less than 24 hours after being offered. Marcus, much like his brother, is a very athletic, but very raw, defensive back, that received an offer from Ohio State due to a defensive coordinator's infatuation with his athleticism and ceiling.

For much of the 2018 recruiting cycle, Marcus seemed headed to Pittsburgh, or West Virginia, as he had interest from his brother’s former school, but no offer. Marcus was given a list of goals Ohio State wanted him to achieve to receive an offer, and after a number of excellent camp performances, Marcus did just that. He looked fantastic at Friday Night Lights last week, and less than seven days later, he’s now officially a member of Ohio State’s 2018 class.

Marcus shares some similarities with his brother, but overall, he’s a fairly different player. Here’s what he brings to Ohio State, both on the field and in their 2018 class.

ON THE FIELD

Marcus is built a bit differently than his brother is. He’s two or three inches shorter, and not as freakish of an athlete as Malik is, although not many people are. Despite a bit of an athletic gap, Marcus is still an extremely long, athletic defensive back that catches the ball very well, just like most Greg Schiano defensive backs. He’s listed as a cornerback right now, but will shift to safety at the next level, as his skill-set dictates.

He may not be the Olympic level athlete that his brother is, but at least according to his high school coach, Marcus may be a better player than Malik was, at least coming out of high school. His game is a bit more refined than Malik’s was, in terms of his coverage skills, tackling ability, and overall technique. He doesn’t have the center fielder-like speed of his brother, but he more than makes up for it with great anticipation skills, and long strides that allow him to cover a large amount of space.

However, that doesn’t mean that he won’t have a lot to learn once he arrives in Columbus. Most of Marcus’ high school success has come on the offensive side of the ball at wide receiver, due to his athleticism. The foundation is there, but as I said, he’ll need to spend a year or two developing his game, especially when it comes to tackling and the nuances of the safety position in Ohio State’s defense.

Ohio State wouldn’t have offered him if they didn’t think that he had the ability to play at the Big Ten level, and both Greg Schiano and Kerry Coombs are confident that they can mold Marcus into the second Hooker brother to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.

IN THE CLASS

Marcus is the 16th commitment in Ohio State’s 2018 class, and the third safety, along with Jaiden Woodbey and Josh Proctor. Where Woodbey and Proctor are more refined, Marcus serves as a bit of a project. He won’t compete for a starting job right away, and doesn’t have as much experience or technical skill, though he makes up for it with his range, hands, and potential.

Before you ask, no, his commitment doesn’t impact anyone else’s in the class, or that Ohio State is currently looking at. It’s been extremely common for Urban Meyer to take at least one project player in every class, and Marcus may be that player in this class. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t, but I can tell you right now that no one is losing a spot over this commitment.

Marcus is Ohio State’s first commitment from Pennsylvania, after three straight classes of bringing in no recruits from Ohio’s neighbor to the east. He may not be the last recruit to head to Columbus from Pennsylvania in this class either, as the Buckeyes remain in hot pursuit of one of the nation’s best players, defensive end Micah Parsons. Landing Marcus doesn’t really help Ohio State in recruiting Parsons, but it certainly doesn’t hurt either.

If you’re the kind of person that cares about recruit rankings and composite scores, don’t fret when you see Marcus sitting in the mid 500s, because after an excellent summer and what could be a big senior campaign, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he got a big push, perhaps even past the 352 ranking his brother was given in 2014.

Fun note: Marcus, Ohio State’s lowest ranked commit, would easily be the best player in Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa’s 2018 classes. If you’re wondering why Ohio State has been dominating the Big 10 recently, look no further than that stat.