Apr 20, 2013; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Ben Councell (30) chases down running back Will Mahone (32) in the fourth quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Prospect Evaluation: Notre Dame Commitment Elijah Hood

Elijah Hood committed to Notre Dame on Sunday making him one of the highest rated Running Backs to commit to Notre Dame in the recruiting ranking service era. Hood is a top tier talent like Greg Bryant was last year. As Notre Dame continues to win, they will continue to land players like Elijah Hood.

Size

Elijah Hood checks in at 5’11” 222lbs and runs a 4.52 40-yard dash. At 222lbs, he outweighs every current Notre Dame Running Back on the roster. He should be ready to take the pounding of a college football game. Hood may be the workhorse back that Notre Dame has been waiting for. He could be a back that could get 20 plus carries per game because of his size. This is one of his advantages.

Running Style

The first thing that is apparent on film about Hood is his balance and quick feet. Hood takes several hits but stays on his feet. He also has the balance to make quick and sudden cuts. Hood is a violent runner that rarely goes down on the first tackle. It is probably because of his weight that he holds this advantage. This obviously will change in college.

Simply categorizing Hood as a power back would be a disservice to his above average speed. Hood demonstrates an ability to get away from defenders in the secondary with his speed. His 40-yard dash is listed as 4.52. These numbers always seem to be inflated significantly. Theo Riddick’s high school 40 was listed as 4.4 but he just ran a 4.68 at the combine. However, Hood definitely demonstrates that he can get away from defenders. On a couple plays, he outruns the angles that the safeties and cornerbacks have on him.

Pass Catching 

Charlotte Catholic, Hood’s high school, runs a version of the Wing-T Offense. In all 8 minutes of his Junior highlight tape, there was not a clip of him catching the ball. Notre Dame’s offense features many screens to the Running Back. Hood may be able to execute these plays but he just has not demonstrated them so far.

Blocking

As with pass catching, there are not any clips of Hood picking up rushers in the passing game. This will be critical for him when he arrives at Notre Dame. In college, a Running Back needs to do everything. He needs to block, catch and run. If he cannot do it all then he cannot be on the field.

Offers

When evaluating a prospect, it is always important to take a look at the offers a player has. It delivers some information about what college coaches really think about the prospect. For example, if the player is from Florida but the in-state powers have passed on him, that should throw up some read flags. This is not the case with Hood, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina. All regional schools, North Carolina, N.C. State, Clemson and South Carolina had offered Hood. National powers, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and USC had also offered Hood. It may be important to note that some schools just saw Hood as an Athlete so that might lessen the credence that those offers give to his Running Back ability.

Overall, Hood is an excellent down-hill runner that should do well in Notre Dame’s system. He will excel at Running the ‘Inside Zone’ and ‘Power’ plays that Notre Dame likes to run. Will he be able pick up the other skills as easily? This is why Hood may not be a better prospect than Bryant. But, ultimately, it is 12 in one hand and a dozen in the other when discussing these two players. They are both top flight talents.

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Tags: Football Notre Dame Fighting Irish Recruiting

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