Ohio State continues to load up in the defensive backfield

Hooker's pledge is a big addition to emerging young secondary. Dave Miller

Print This July 30, 2013, 01:15 PM EST

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After getting a commitment on Sunday from Texas guard Demetrius Knox, who is one of the better offensive lineman in the country, Ohio State continued to add to its Class of 2014 on Monday with the verbal pledge of Malik Hooker, a 6-2, 185-pound athlete from New Castle High School (New Castle, PA).

Hooker, who is rated as a three-star recruit by, is the Buckeyes' 16th pledge in 2014. He chose OSU over Pittsburgh and Penn State.

One of the best players in the state of Pennsylvania, Hooker is expected to compete for playing time at safety when he arrives in Columbus, as he becomes just the latest piece to Ohio State's improving secondary, which has been a focus of Urban Meyer and Co. in the last two recruiting cycles.

With players such as C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant and Corey Brown running out of eligibility after the 2013 campaign, Hooker could see immediate playing time. Of course, OSU's 2013 signing haul included big-name recruits in the defensive backfield such as Vonn Bell, Eli Apple and Cam Burrows. Michigan cornerback Damon Webb is also scheduled to sign his Letter of Intent with Hooker in February.

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