Ohio State All-American FS Malik Hooker declares for 2017 NFL Draft

Ohio State free safety Malik Hooker, a unanimous first-team All-American this year, has declared for the NFL Draft. He spread the news of this decision via his Twitter account.

As of last month, Hooker had intended to return to Columbus for his redshirt-junior season, saying he was “100 percent sure I’m coming back to Ohio State.”

Following a historic 31-0 blowout loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl, Hooker clearly had a change of heart. A likely first-round pick, he has smartly decided to strike while the iron is hot after a splendid individual performance in the game.

While this could be considered a big blow for the Urban Meyer-led Buckeyes, expect Ohio State to reload and charge hard for the College Football Payoff easily next season.