Malik Hooker Calls Himself A Mama’s Boy – And His Mama Agrees

Standing at the podium in the Colts media room with his family looking on, rookie safety Malik Hooker described the overwhelming feeling of homesickness he struggled with when he first got to school at Ohio State.

“My whole life I’ve never really been away from my mom,” he said. “I’m a mama’s boy.”

His mother, Angela Dennis agreed.

“We had never been apart before, so we would talk every day his first year in college, sometimes four or five times a day,” she said. “Of course, it was hard to let him go. Just him being young and being out on his own, that was very hard for me.”

Raised the third oldest of five children in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Hooker was the first to go far away to college. What made it tougher for Dennis was seeing her son struggle once he got there.

“It was hard for me because a lot of times, when it was time for him to go back to college, we had to look for him. I would have to pull up alongside of him and say, ‘Get in this car, you’re going back,’” she said. “As a mother, you want to reach out and help them. But I knew that if I did that, I would cause him a lot of suffering – that if he just stuck it out for a little bit that he would eventually make it here.”

That tough love wasn’t easy to dish out. At times, she even resorted to extreme measures.

“Sometimes, I didn’t answer his calls,” she said. “When it got to the point where I felt like I was going to give in, I didn’t want him to blow his opportunity to do this.”

Eventually, he adjusted. Hooker came out of his shell – on and off the field.

“The Bowling Green game that he had two interceptions, I thought I was going to faint,” Dennis said. “He’s always been one of those athletes that just stood out wherever he went. So, I knew it would come.”

Dennis describes her son as a very shy kid, very quiet, and very family oriented. She said he loves basketball, but he also loves poetry.

On Thursday, the first day of the NFL Draft and the most important day of Hooker’s life so far, he spent time at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“I told him you can’t take things in this life for granted,” Dennis said. “You help those who can’t do what you’re doing right now. You have to go back and give back to the community.”

And on Thursday night, Hooker was in a ballroom surrounded by family and friends when the Colts selected him with the 15th pick in the NFL Draft.

“We had a crowd of about 100 people and it was nerve wracking,” Dennis said. “I was anxious, but it was very exciting. I was very happy for him and very proud of him because he worked hard to get here.”

But he couldn’t have done it without his mama.

Now that he’s in Indianapolis, even farther from home – Dennis said she’s no longer worried about her son.

“Those calls that were sometimes four or five times a day, I have to call him now,” she said.

Malik Hooker is all grown up. He’s ready to leave the nest. And the woman who raised him couldn’t be prouder.

“I’m really happy for him.”

And he knows she’ll be there for him every step of the way as he transitions from student to professional.

Malik Hooker is ready for his start.

But he’ll always be a mama’s boy at heart.