Ohio State Safety Marcus Hooker Reinstated Following Suspension

Hooker’s future with the program was uncertain following an arrest this offseason.
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Ohio State head coach Ryan Day announced during Big Ten Media Days on Friday afternoon that suspended safety Marcus Hooker has been reinstated by the program.

“He’s back with the team,” Day said of the redshirt junior. “He went through a tough time, but he’s learned a lot from it and paid his dues and went through a bunch of different programs, so we’re supporting Marcus, and he’s back on the team. He is (eligible to play Week One at Minnesota)”

A former three-star prospect from New Castle, Pa., Hooker came to Columbus with great expectations thanks to his older brother, Malik, who earned All-American honors with the Buckeyes in 2016. He started five games last fall and recorded 15 tackles, three pass break ups and one interception but suffered a late-season injury that limited him to special teams duties during the College Football Playoff.

Hooker was then suspended from the team after Columbus Police found him unresponsive at the wheel in a McDonald’s drive-thru just before 2 a.m. on March 13. Body cam footage showed officers repeatedly tapping on his windows and windshield, rocking his car and using an air horn before eventually breaking the right rear window to unlock the doors and remove him from his vehicle.

“We're very disappointed and take what happened very seriously,” Day said at the time. “We're going to let the process play out. He is suspended right now indefinitely and we'll kind of see as things move forward. We’ll make the decisions as we go, but we wanted to get all the information first before we did anything.”

That marked the second time that Hooker had been suspended following an arrest, as he also missed the 2018 season opener against Oregon State after he was charged with driving under the influence, disregarding traffic lanes, careless driving, not having rear lights and the purchase of an alcoholic beverage by a minor that summer.

Hooker pleaded guilty to the most recent charge in April and was fined $375, had his license suspended with limited privileges for one year and was sentenced to three days in jail, though that was suspended.

He’ll now have to compete with the likes of fifth-year senior Marcus Williamson; sophomores Craig Young, Ronnie Hickman and Lathan Ransom; and redshirt freshmen Kourt Williams and Cameron Martinez if he wants to regain his starting spot opposite of senior Josh Proctor this fall.

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