Defensive Lineman Has Tigers High On List

Defensive lineman K'Hadree Hooker discusses his trip to Auburn and what he likes about the Tigers.

Deep Run, N.C.--One of the top prospects in North Carolina for the class of 2012, defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker took a visit to Auburn on Saturday for a Junior Day and came away very impressed by his first look at coach Gene Chizik's program after watching the Tigers in a spring practice.

"It was my first practice down there and they got after it," Hooker said. "The coaches coached them up with tough love but at the end of the day they were great guys. The facilities and what they've got coming is great.

"I had a great time," he added. "The coaches are good. I enjoyed myself and I plan on going back. It was good."

Playing for South Lenoir High, Hooker had a big junior year on the defensive line. Named the Kinston Press Defensive Player of the Year, he had 79 tackles, 15 quarterback hurries, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles and five blocked kicks.

With numbers like that it's no surprise that he's close to double figures in offers with NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Auburn, South Carolina, Louisville, Duke and East Carolina in the mix for the 6-2, 270-pounder. Following his visit to the Plains he said the Tigers are now rising quickly.

"They are high on my list," Hooker said. "If not my top team they are in the top two. N.C. State and Georgia Tech are up there as well. I have maybe nine or 10 offers."

One of the things that has the Tigers high on his list other than just enjoying the campus and facilities is Auburn's need for defensive linemen. Losing five players off last year's unit including All-American Nick Fairley, there is a need there and something Hooker saw first hand.

"It's one of my points of interest and by them being thin on the defensive line it's something I'm considering," Hooker said. "He (Auburn DL coach Mike Pelton) reminds me of my high school coach. He gets after it. It's tough love and I like that."

Pelton wasn't the only coach Hooker enjoyed talking with as he spent some time with several of the coaches on the staff. Watching them work on the field and off he said he enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with them.

"I got a chance to get a feel for the coaches and I feel like they are a player's coach," Hooker said. "At the same time they mean business. They are high on my list now."

With plans to graduate early and enroll in time for spring practice next season, Hooker said he'll be back in Auburn for the A-Day game on April 16 and wants to have his decision made sometime before his senior year is complete. When he does he noted he has some specific things he'll be looking for in his school.

"I'm looking for coaching stability and the facilities," Hooker said. "I want to go somewhere I can get my degree and come in early and contribute to the team. Not necessarily start my freshman year but playing early."

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