By Whitney Truax
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
A mechanical engineering major and senior safety at TCU, Geoff Hooker could write a book about time management.
Hooker has learned to balance his schedule between being a collegiate athlete and having a very difficult major.
“It’s been hard at times,” Hooker said. “You really have to manage your time wisely. My professors have also been very supportive and understanding.”
Coming to TCU, Hooker thought about pre-med as a major but decided on engineering. After graduating in December 2014, he wants to work in the oil and gas industry while staying in Texas.
Growing up in the small town of Sherman, Texas, Hooker was always around sports. In high school, he played baseball and football all four years while also competing in basketball and track and field.
An opportunity to walk on to the football team was the major reason for Hooker to choose TCU over some other choices that came his way.
“I could have gone to smaller schools to play, but I didn't want to do that,” Hooker said. “TCU was the right place for me.”
Part of that perfect fit for Hooker at TCU came from his family ties to the University. His father, Allen, also played for the Horned Frogs and was a three-year football letterman (1973-75).
After redshirting his first season on campus, Hooker impressed enough in team practices to earn a spot on the Horned Frogs’ special teams units as a redshirt freshman in 2011. He’s played in every game the last three seasons and was a second-team Academic All-Big 12 selection in 2013.
During Hooker’s junior year, TCU head football coach Gary Patterson announced to the team after practice one day that Hooker had earned a scholarship. His teammates immediately erupted with applause.
“To be working towards that and just to be recognized for putting in all the hard work was a pretty cool deal,” Hooker said about receiving his scholarship.
During his time in college, Hooker has seen many changes at TCU and with the football program. From playing in the Rose Bowl to transitioning into the Big 12 Conference with a brand new Amon G. Carter Stadium, Hooker has enjoyed plenty of positive experiences.
“The young guys come in and they don't really know what it used to be like,” Hooker said. “We’ve had a lot of change with our facilities, and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Hooker is grateful to Patterson for making that happen.
“Coach Patterson gave me a great chance to not only play here but also earn a scholarship,” Hooker said. “I’m really glad that I’ve been able to play for a coach like him.
“He’s definitely taught me, and all the guys who come through here, about also being prepared for life after TCU.”
Hooker’s hard work in practice resulted in his first career start for TCU coming in a 2013 win over SMU. Later that season, in the West Virginia game, he recorded his first career interception. Those are great memories for him, along with a 2011 win at Boise State and a victory over Texas in Austin in 2012.
Hooker’s impact has gone beyond the gridiron and into the classroom as well.
“Geoff Hooker is academically gifted, a very practical thinker and a good solid student,” said Robert Bittle, one of Hooker’s engineering professors. “I have no doubt he will be successful in engineering or any professional field he decides to pursue.
“Our student-athletes at TCU have to work very hard to compete in their sport and be successful academically. In my view that is especially true for engineering majors, which Geoff is.”
A football student-athlete spends his most time with his position coach. For Hooker, that’s safeties coach Chad Glasgow.
“Geoff Hooker is a young man we're really proud of around here and proud to have a part of our family because of how he does things on and off the football field,” Glasgow said. “The load that he handles in the classroom and how he approaches that is the same mentality he brings out here to the football field.“His leadership and work ethic, and making the most of the opportunities that he's been given, is a really special thing and we love him for that.”