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Irish receive commitment from blue-chip RB Elijah Hood

Apr 29, 2013, 3:20 AM EDT

NCHSAA Playoffs

After a slow start to recruiting this spring,  the 2014 group received a huge jolt when blue-chip running back Elijah Hood pledged his commitment to the Irish on Sunday evening. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder is Rivals’ top-ranked athlete, No. 12 prospect overall, and has offers from North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, USC and more. Hood spent the weekend with his parents in South Bend, and upon returning home Sunday night made his commitment official via Twitter.

Hood’s commitment isn’t a complete surprise, but the timing certainly is considering Brian Kelly wasn’t even on campus this weekend. With the Irish head coach in New York at the NFL Draft (where he was part of the telecast on the NFL Network), Hood spent time with running backs coach Tony Alford and player development director Ernest Jones, along with North Carolina natives Matthias Farley, Romeo Okwara, and Mark Harrell. From all reports (and the obvious — an immediate commitment) the visit was a smashing success.

While there’s an eternity to go before recruiting rankings are finalized, Hood currently rates as the highest rated running back in the Rivals recruiting era to pledge to Notre Dame, jumping in front of recent commit Greg Bryant for the time being. Already at 220-pounds, Hood seems like the perfect package of power and speed. He put together a ridiculous junior season, running for 3,309 yards and 48 touchdowns last season. (He’s ran for over 5,200 yards and 83 touchdowns in his career at Charlotte Catholic.) While listed as a athlete, and projected by some as a linebacker, Hood is clearly a running back in Notre Dame’s plans, something he’s fine with, especially after seeing the size of the Irish linebackers in person.

For the Irish coaching staff, adding Hood into the fold should be galvanizing for a recruiting class that’s picking up steam. With eight commitments and a class that might not even get to 20, adding Hood now could have the same star effect that Jaylon Smith’s commitment did last year.

Hood doesn’t plan on taking any additional visits and will graduate in June ’14 and head to South Bend. He and his family plan to return to campus soon to spend some time with Brian Kelly, but his commitment sounds as firm as it can be at this point.

“There are plenty of good schools close by,” Hood told the Charlotte Observer Sunday night, “but there’s something about Notre Dame. It’s a great place with so much history and tradition. They have stuff I couldn’t have dreamed of. They wowed me. They took my breath away at times. I knew it was the place.”

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  1. yaketyyacc - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    the blueprint looked good. what is better is the foundation that has been built(2013 and 2014 recruitment). it is square, strong and solid. and now Hood. as observers watching this foundation being constructed, it is hard to be patient enough to wait to see the house that will be constructed on it.
    Kelly and Co. have done a fine job. BUT, let’s hope his trip to the NFL Draft, wasn’t camouflage for him to start another construction as greedy contractors OFTEN do, while trying to convince the present customer of full and complete “commitment”.

    • nudeman - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      The Kelly angle you cite is legit. I don’t blame him for going on the NFL Network; that’s great pub for ND and recruits watch that stuff

      But … that Eagles thing was so poorly handled that I don’t know how anyone can ever look at Kelly and conclude “we got our guy for the next 10 years”.

      Can’t get it out of my head that he’s a short timer.

      • ibleedirish - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        As long as he makes Notre Dame a more attractive place to coach and play than it was when he took the job, thats really all I need from him. He’s right on track.

  2. North of Denver - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    In the video, just skip to ~5:06. Holy smokes.

    A few other comments
    1) Yak: dude…
    2) graduating in June? And heading “straight to South Bend”? Explain.
    3) again, just skip to 5:06. This guy’s a monster.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      You’re right 5:06 is all you need to know. He smokes those 2 guys, making the second one look a little like a rag doll in the process.

  3. jrober22 - Apr 29, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    “Hood doesn’t plan on taking any additional visits and will graduate in June and head to South Bend.” like this june? a whole year early?

  4. Keith Arnold - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    June of ’14. Sorry guys. I’ll tweak the article to clarify. (Freshmen enroll in summer school and begin workouts then.)

  5. aceinthehole12 - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    Definitely a great Monday waking up to read this !

  6. bernhtp - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    I hope Hood and other commits bond together to create a gravity well of enthusiasm and promotion as we saw with IrishMob13. ’13 commits like Jaylon Smith made enumerable trips back to campus to influence other recruits, and this was among the largest factors in bringing in the great ’13 class.

  7. dudeacow - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Great to see another power back come to ND. We’ve been missing a true power back since Hughes, and I don’t think Mahone will get many snaps. After Sony Michel committed to Georgia I was wondering if last year’s magic was a one-and-done thing, but this certainly disproves that.

  8. 4horsemenrideagain - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    the backfield looks like it is on the right track toward that “reload, not rebuild” level. hood looks thick, strong, quick and elusive. just imagine what longo has to work with out of the gates with this young man!

  9. nudeman - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    This is a great “get” by ND. At 5’11, 221 lbs with that speed at 17 years old is pretty special.

    Having said that, I believe that the consensus is that his level of competition is not all that strong. And in the videos, he looks bigger than all 21 other guys on the field. That won’t be the case when he gets to ND.

    Still could be great though, in the mold of Bettis.
    By the time he enrolls, could be 230 and maybe 235-240 by the time he gets meaningful playing time.

  10. twebb2 - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    WOW. I don’t often watch videos of commits, but I happened to hit “play” on this one, and holy cow, what a man-beast. Big, strong, powerful, and fast! Can take it outside with the speed, or inside like a bowling ball. Amazing!

  11. ndnapa - Apr 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    I think Kelly and staff are playing this recruiting season perfectly. They are getting their top choices and are in great shape with their remaining top targets. The better the roster gets, the tougher it gets to keep adding blue chips, but that is exactly what ND is doing. They’ve already signed at least 40% of the class and elite talents are very interested. We haven’t had this caliber of recruiting since Holtz.

    With OT Nelson looking very possible, we’d only have room for 1-2 more OT’s with many great talents seriously interested. If we could get Frazier at NT and Holley, we’d be as strong as anybody in the country on the DL.

    I’m telling you, we’re going to have to turn away a number of great football players this year, so I hope the kids realize there aren’t that many spots open and get on board. I love Starks, but I don’t know how they find room for him with Hood committing.

  12. blackirish23 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I rarely ever look at these videos, let alone comment, bu this was worth it. A couple of things I noticed right away is where he gets the ball. He’s very close to the line of scrimmage as the QB is directly under center. Opposing defenses also seem to stack the box with anywhere from 7 – 9 defenders, and yet he seems to always gain positive yards.

    I even played a few sequences frame by frame and his vision for finding just the right holes behind his O-Line is something else. Looks like a great combination of patience and vision, power to get through to the secondary, and speed to leave everyone in the dust. And for the poor DB that ever catches up to him, beware the of the stiff arm. Sweet stuff. Great catch for ND!

    Go Irish!!

  13. dudeacow - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    His acceleration isn’t great, which is why he runs a 4.5, but when he gets to full speed, he looks like a 4.4- guy. 220 pounds rumbling that fast makes for a HARD tackle.

    • mtflsmitty - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      Hood is impressive.

      But what is more impressive yet is Dudeacow’s ability to discern 4.5 speed from 4.4 speed on the highlights. Amazing.

      • mtndguy - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        That’s exactly what I was thinking…….Dudeacow is amazing!

      • dudeacow - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I know. I’m amazing, aren’t I?

  14. bernhtp - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Elijah Hood does a good interview with ISD’s Mike Frank.

    http://www.irishsportsdaily.com/podcast/2013/04/elijah-hood-joins-power-hour-4-29-2013/

    • ibleedirish - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Thanks for the link. This kid sounds very impressive for a 17 year old. If he’s not an “RKG” I don’t know who is. Good stuff, hope he signs.

  15. mediocrebob - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Ha very amazing

  16. soundsofsuccess7 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Really good back, really good get for ND.

    Just gotta make sure he doesn’t have second thoughts down the road like a lot of early recruits do..

  17. fnc111 - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Guys don’t get burned. CBK is a snake and if he pulls off anything like 9-3 or 10-2 this season he is off to the NFL.

    • nudeman - May 1, 2013 at 1:17 AM

      Well fnc … that shouldn’t be a problem, according.to you.

      You’re on record as saying that because their 4th string QB left, ND will go 6-6.

      Right, Mr. Asswipe?

    • irish13pa - May 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      fnc, thats ok, Diaco will fill in just fine as the new head coach.

  18. 25kgold - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    WoW!! The city of San Diego already getting started with the wisecracks…

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/san-diego-newspaper-welcomes-manti-te-o-yep-155400848.html

  19. 4horsemenrideagain - May 1, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    heck of a circular argument you have there. “you stink, but even if you don’t stink and have a decent year, than your coach is bailing…” gee, thanks for looking out for us. you’re a real sweetheart, just like that paulh character who doesn’t even like college football, but is just trying to “open ND fans’ eyes.”

  20. shaunodame - May 2, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    For as great as his Power and Tackle-Breaking abilities look to be, what is most amazing to me is this kids blend of field vision, balance, and low center of gravity. For comparison, he is already light years ahead of GAIII in these skills, and he’s just a going into his Senior year of high school! Thats scary.

    It’s hard to get a real good idea where his speed is, because you don’t know exactly how fast a level of competition he is RAPIDLY accelerating away from. But none-the-less this highlight tape was mighty impressive. Glad he’s Irish!

  21. irish13pa - May 10, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    If Hood helps us land Peppers I would be highly impressed. Help land that one Elijah!!!

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