After six years at MSU, Hoover looking at NFL

Former Spartan defensive tackle on the radar of a couple teams in particular, but has heard from around 18 teams in recent days leading up the NFL Draft.

Tyler Hoover walked into Dino Folino's office on Wednesday and had a playful comment for Michigan State's director of player development.

"I'm here to collect my pension," he said.

The former Michigan State defensive tackle, who at age 24 earned the nickname "Dad" from some teammates, spent six years in East Lansing. Now, he is set to move on to the next level to join players he started college with such as Keshawn Martin and Jerel Worthy – both entering their third years in the NFL.

"It's crazy," he said. "I played with (current Cleveland Browns quarterback) Brian Hoyer.

"It all happened for a reason. I got the Rose Bowl."

The Rose Bowl capped Hoover's career, which was extended to six years after being granted a medical redshirt for missing the 2011 season with a fractured rib. When he found out he would have a sixth season, he took to Twitter saying, "Officially have a sixth year! Excited to be apart of MSUs Rose Bowl year!"

Starting his journey toward the professional ranks immediately after the win in Pasadena, the 6-foot-7 defensive lineman will play the waiting game he had ben waiting to be a part of as the NFL Draft takes place from Thursday night through Saturday night.

"The last three days, I think probably 18 teams called me," he said. "They wanted the phone numbers where I was going to be. If they call and it was busy, they will pick up the other phone.

"That's just them getting organized. Even right after the draft, my phone will be ridiculous."

While many teams have reached out in the days leading up to the draft, a pair of teams have showed Hoover the most attention through the pre-draft process. Soon after Michigan State's pro day in mid-March, the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders flew Hoover out for visits to tour their facilities and meet coaches.

"They take you out to dinner, they keep feeding you all day and they try to show you what the daily life would be like," he said.

He said Arizona felt comfortable and Oakland surprised him with how much attention they had been paying to him, even pulling up tape from the College All-Star Bowl in South Carolina.

"It was the same weekend as the worst snowstorm ever to hit South Carolina – it was a whopping two inches," he said. "We had only two practices, but I got good film from it. There were a lot of one-on-ones and when I was at Oakland, they actually pulled it up. I don't know how they got it."

Both visits, though, left him with positive vibes from the pair of franchises, which also explained to him their draft day processes, as he could factor into their plans in the later rounds.

"They explained the process of the war room because everyone has the same amount of pull in the room of voting on a guy," he said. "Everyone is kind of picking their guy and they're trying to sell why that guy should be on the team over someone else. Then it comes down to a vote.

"Anything can happen during those moments during the draft. The D-line coach for the Raiders said he was going to fight for me in the later rounds. It just comes down to if more coaches agree with him or not."

Depending on how things shake out, he has put in the research – "many, many hours" – to know where could be good fit for him as an undrafted free agent. His agent, Nashville-based Mark Block, has a "cheat sheet" breaking down each team's situation from players on the roster, defensive scheme and overall comfort Hoover felt talking with each team.

"If one of those teams draft a defensive lineman early, they drop," he said. "If they didn't, it's a place where I could have a really good opportunity."

But no matter what NFL opportunity comes out of this weekend, Hoover figures to have a phone call coming around this fall. After all, he designed the "Spartan Dawgs" posters around the football facility the past couple years, utilizing his undergraduate degree in studio art and graphic design.

"I was just talking to (defensive coordinator Pat) Narduzzi about that," he said. "He was like we might have to give you a call sometime before camp.

"I said, ‘Well I am graduating, so you can pay me for it now.'"

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