Junior tight end Austin Hooper announced Monday on Twitter that he will enter the 2016 NFL Draft, forgoing his two remaining years of collegiate eligibility.
After much discussion with my family and Coach Shaw, I have decided to enter the 2016 NFL draft.
— Austin M Hooper (@AustinHooper18) January 4, 2016
In his two seasons of action at Stanford, Hooper caught 74 passes for 937 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was named to the All-Pac-12 first team and the Associated Press’ All-America third team this season and tied with Michael Rector as the Cardinal’s second-leading receiver this year behind Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey.
After redshirting his freshman year, Hooper was the Cardinal’s primary pass-catching tight end for the last two seasons but also showed off his versatility with his blocking prowess and his ability to line up split out wide or in the slot.
This season, Hooper finished tied for 10th among FBS tight ends with 6 touchdown receptions and third among Pac-12 tight ends with his 438 receiving yards. He recorded his finest performance of the season in Stanford’s first game against USC this season, in which his four catches and 79 receiving yards both led the team as he scored Stanford’s first touchdown in the Cardinal’s 41-31 victory over the Trojans.
Hooper, a psychology major, came to Stanford in the 2013 recruiting class with fellow tight ends Greg Taboada and Eric Cotton as a four-star recruit out of San Ramon, California. He will look to become the eighth active Stanford alumnus to play tight end in the NFL and the first Stanford tight end to be drafted since Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo were taken in the 2013 Draft.
With Hooper’s departure, Stanford has three remaining tight ends on its roster: Schultz, Taboada and freshman walk-on Ben Snyder. The Cardinal already have a commitment from four-star 2016 tight end Kaden Smith, who is considered the second-best tight end recruit in his class.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.