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Amani Hooker declares for NFL Draft

Iowa safety Amani Hooker, the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, is the second Iowa player looking toward the NFL.

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Amani Hooker declares for NFL Draft

Iowa defensive back Amani Hooker tackles Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams during the Outback Bowl game between Iowa and Mississippi State at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs, 27-22.

Iowa defensive back Amani Hooker tackles Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams during the Outback Bowl game between Iowa and Mississippi State at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs, 27-22.

Nick Rohlman

Iowa defensive back Amani Hooker tackles Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams during the Outback Bowl game between Iowa and Mississippi State at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs, 27-22.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Iowa defensive back Amani Hooker tackles Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams during the Outback Bowl game between Iowa and Mississippi State at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs, 27-22.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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Amani Hooker became the second Hawkeye to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft, tweeting his decision to skip his senior season at Iowa on Saturday.

“This past season has been amazing for the team and myself personally and is one that I will cherish forever,” Hooker tweeted. “With that being said after serious discussion with my friends, family, and lots [of] prayer, I have decided to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. It has been a dream of mine since I was 5 years old and now it’s my time for it to become a reality.”

Hooker finished the 2018 season leading the team in passes defended (7) and tied for the lead in interceptions (4). He also ranked second on the team with 65 tackles.

His stellar performance propelled him to a second-team AP All-American bid, as well as a first-team Pro Football Focus All-America selection.

Hooker was also named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.

Hooker is now the second Iowa player to declare for the draft after Noah Fant announced his decision to forgo his senior season before the Hawkeyes’ Outback Bowl victory. Tight end T.J. Hockenson and defensive end Anthony Nelson are still in the process of making their decisions.

A versatile defender who played safety and outside linebacker in his last season with the Hawkeyes, Hooker provides hard-hitting ability, as well as solid coverage in zone and man.

“I am truly grateful for everyone who contributed in this whole process,” Hooker tweeted. “It was an easy decision for me to choose Iowa as a junior in high school, and now Iowa is a place I call home. I am excited for what the future holds and I will accept any challenges that awaits with God leading the way.”

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Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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Twitter: @PeteyRuden

Pete Ruden is the Sports Editor at the DI, where he has worked since the beginning of his college...

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