Amani Hooker Jersey

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The Iowa Hawkeyes have sent yet another talented defensive back to the NFL.

Amani Hooker was drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the 116th pick in the 2019 NFL draft, making him the fourth Hawkeye player selected so far this weekend. Hooker continues a growing and proud tradition of Hawkeye defensive backs drafted to the league, becoming the third defensive back in as many years to hear his name called on draft weekend.

Hooker has come a long way over the past two years. After beginning his sophomore season as a backup, Hooker eventually worked his way into the starting lineup, flashing a level of athleticism and football acumen that allowed him to stand out almost immediately. His spectacular pick-six against Ohio State on the first play from scrimmage was the match that sparked Iowa’s explosive 55-24 victory over the Buckeyes and propelled him to instant stardom.

As strong as Hooker’s sophomore campaign was, his performance as a junior exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic fans. Hooker showed unprecedented versatility for an Iowa defender, seamlessly shifting between safety, outside linebacker, and slot cornerback. Hooker’s versatility sparked an important evolution in Iowa’s notoriously static defensive scheme as the Hawkeyes adopted a number of 4-2-5 defensive looks designed to capitalize on Hooker’s skill as both a run and pass defender. The Big Ten took notice, and Hooker was named the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year.

Iowa certainly would have benefited immensely had Hooker returned for his senior year, but its the Titans who will get to enjoy his talents on the field next season. Hooker’s ability to play both safety and slot corner draws the obvious comparison to Micah Hyde, and his positional flexibility should allow him to see the field early on.

Congratulations to Amani Hooker! Now go show the NFL why Iowa is the new DB U of the Midwest!

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