Elijah Hood is one of the top recruits in the country. Out of Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic High School, Hood stars at both running back and linebacker. He checks in at 5'11 and 220 pounds, while running a sub-4.6 40-yard dash.
As one would expect, Hood holds a ton of offers, including Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Michigan, N.C. State, UNC, Ohio State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Stanford, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
As of April 29, Hood is verbally committed to Notre Dame.
Hood is a consensus four-star recruit, and most services regard him as one of the 100 best players nationally.
So what makes Hood such a good player?
It starts with the size and athleticism combo. Hood is bigger than most of the defensive players he faces. And given that, his style of running them over is justified. Hood has good leg drive, and in a number of clips gets low to power through tackles, both arm and form. As expected at his size, Hood has a strong stiff-arm move. Hood also has good speed relative to his size.
But I have questions about Hood as a running back at the next level. He does not display great vision, and too often gets away with just putting his head down and barging straight ahead. That works in high school, but won't in college. He also doesn't seem to have the ability to make defenders miss. I wasn't expecting Hood to be Barry Sanders, but he is a far cry from an Eddie Lacy; a back with a similar build, who routinely made defenders miss for Alabama.
That is not to say that Hood can't play running back in college, but rather that finding the right fit is important. Hood is not suited for a shotgun team that runs a lot of zone. He would probably be most successful for a team that runs 21 or 12 personnel, with a lot of man blocking (especially power).
If Hood does pick the right system, perhaps for a team slightly below the top echelon of college football, I can see him being an extreme workhorse, touching the ball 25 times per game.
Ultimately, though, I believe Hood should play linebacker because he does not seem to have the natural instincts and feel for the running back position. His size, surprising length (for a 5'11 prospect), strength, athleticism and aggressiveness should translate well to the position.
Hood also has a reputation as a solid person and teammate, which is a refreshing change from some of the stories told about star recruits.