As of right now, the highest officially ranked running back to ever sign with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is Greg Bryant, who just signed with the Irish a few months ago. Bryant, according to rivals.com, was the third-best running back in the country, and the 19th best player overall.
Well, his days as the highest-rated running back to sign with the Irish already could be drawing to a close with the the commitment of Elijah Hood on Sunday.
Hood, a 5-foot-11, 221-pound freak athlete from Charlotte Catholic in Charlotte (NC) is the 12th best player nationally, and considered the top athlete by rivals. His measurable’s (collected along the camp circuits) are very impressive: he ran a 4.55 second 40-yard dash, put up 18 reps of 225 pounds on bench press, ran a 4.50 second 20-yard shuttle, measured a 37 inch vertical jump and boasts nearly a 3.5 GPA.
For comparison’s sake, the top running back drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, Giovani Bernard, ran a 4.50 forty, put up 19 reps of 225 pounds, and jumped 34 inches, all at more than 20 pounds lighter than Hood. Imagine what Hood will be like after 3-4 years in a college weight room.
This is truly an outstanding pickup for Brian Kelly and the Irish. Hood is a powerful and explosive athlete who can also be a threat receiving out of the backfield. Ideally, he’s better suited for a man-blocking scheme up front, as opposed to a zone, but he’s a good enough athlete to be able to adapt.
Hood will be entering the running back mix for Notre Dame at a tough time. By the time he enrolls in 2014, he’ll be competing against George Atkinson III (who will be a senior), Cam McDaniel (senior), Amir Carlisle (senior), Will Mahone (junior), the previously mentioned mega-recruit Bryant (freshman or sophomore, depending on redshirt) and Taurean Folston (freshman or sophomore).
Now factor in Hood, and you’ve got simply a ridiculous stable of running backs. More than likely, Kelly will have moved at least one or two of those guys to other positions, particularly Carlisle and Folston (to slot receiver).
So why did Hood pick the Irish over practically every college in North America that has a football program? Simple. It’s the people at the school. The fellow players, the coaches, the tutors, the students, the administration, the fans. Seems like a good enough reason to me.