Four-star ATH Hooker names top six

HOOVER, Ala. -- Recruiting was the last thing on Malik Hooker's mind this week. The New Castle (Pa.) High School athlete traveled with his team to Alabama to compete in the National Select 7-on-7 tournament. Even though he was from out of town, it didn’t take long for other players to figure out who he was.

“There are kids out here that are playing to try and outdo me,” Hooker said. “That’s what everybody out here wants to do -- they want to outwork the guy they’re against. I’m just out here trying to make myself better and make my team better as a whole.”

New Castle finished 2-4-1 in Thursday’s pool play before being eliminated on Friday. Before the trip, Hooker narrowed his list to six schools -- Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

The list doesn’t mean he’s any closer to a decision, though. The four-star prospect wants to visit each school before he makes a commitment. He’s already been to Ohio State, Penn State and Pittsburgh, and he plans to visit West Virginia on Saturday.

“When I make my decision, I want to see all the schools,” Hooker said. “I want to know all the bad things about the schools, all the good things about the schools.

“When you want to commit to a school, I think it all depends when you want to do it. You have to take your time because you don’t want to make the wrong decision. It’s whenever you feel comfortable about when you want to make your decision.”

The list is subject to change, too. Both Alabama and Vanderbilt have started to show interest this summer, and an offer from the Crimson Tide would certainly grab Hooker’s attention.

“It would be a great feeling because at the school I’m from, not a lot of kids got the opportunity I have,” he said.