Top recruit Hood puts family before football, de-commits from Notre Dame
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media August 20, 2013 10:08PM
Elijah Hood (34) of the Charlotte Catholic Cougars looks for running room against the North Guilford Nighthawks in the 2012 NCHSAA 3AA State Championship Game at BB&T Field on December 1, 2012 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Nighthawks defeated the Cougars 64-26. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images via AP Images)
Updated: September 22, 2013 6:41AM
Notre Dame’s Class of 2014 took a major hit Tuesday.
Running back Elijah Hood, a five-star recruit, confirmed on Twitter that he de-committed from the Irish. Blue and Gold Illustrated had the initial report.
“Over the past couple of months, I have put much thought into the things that are important. What is most important to me is my family — especially my parents and grandparents,” Hood wrote on Twitter. “They have personally been with me through all my life’s accomplishments. Now as a teenager, I am still learning what it means to become an adult. Making difficult decisions that are important to me is part of this process.
“This decision has nothing to do with football or academics. This decision has everything to do about my family.”
Hood is from Charlotte, N.C. Rivals.com ranks him at No. 14 among all players nationally for the Class of 2014. He was the top-rated player in Notre Dame’s recruiting class. He originally made an oral commitment to play for the Irish in April.
“I have a lot of respect for the University of Notre Dame and its coaches,” Hood wrote. “I specifically want to acknowledge [assistant] coach Tony Alford, whom I dearly admire and regret to inform of my decision.”
Hood is the top-ranked player in North Carolina.
“I think it’s a big loss for Notre Dame because he’s the kind of guy they need to compete on that national level, players like him, five-star-type guys,” Woody Wommack, the Southeast Region recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, said in a phone interview.
“Obviously they got a great running back in last year’s class in Greg Bryant,” he said. “There’s not a gaping hole. But to have a guy come in every year like that could be something when you talk about reloading instead of rebuilding.”
Eddie Vanderdoes, a 2013 Notre Dame recruit, recently decided to remain in his home state instead of playing for the Irish. The defensive lineman from Auburn, Calif., was ranked No. 21 overall, according to Rivals.com.
There is a major difference. Vanderdoes had signed a national letter of intent before deciding to go to UCLA in June.
Hood’s decision means there are 16 members of Notre Dame’s Class of 2014.
“Anytime you’re 17 or 18 and you see a school like Notre Dame you think ‘OK, that’s awesome, I want to go play there.’ But the more you think about it, [Hood is] probably thinking, ‘how is my family going to be able to come watch me play when I’m there all the way from North Carolina coming to South Bend?’ I think that might have played into it,” Wommack said.
“I’m sure the Notre Dame coaches deal with it all the time, they recruit on a national level. But it takes a certain type of player that wants to leave home and wants to leave his parents and aunts and uncles and sometimes girlfriends and stuff like that. That’s what it really came down to for him. When he decided to open it back up, I think he was starting to get maybe a little bit of cold feet in terms of the distance from home.”