Q&A with Elijah Hood

Highly touted running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte Cathlic; Charlotte, N.C.) originally committed to Notre Dame before de-committing on Aug. 20th.

A week after reopening his recruitment, Hood — considered one of the top prospects in the state and the nation — committed to North Carolina.

After a recent campus visit, The Daily Tar Heel caught up with Hood about his decision to join the Tar Heels next season.

DAILY TAR HEEL: Everyone knows what happened with Notre Dame and UNC this summer— what was your thinking during the whole situation?
ELIJAH HOOD: It just came down to what I think is best for me. I want to be as successful as I can, and it’s what you want for yourself.

DTH: What have you learned at Charlotte Catholic that will help you during your transition to UNC?
EH: I’m used to seeing pretty good talent in the Charlotte area, so I already know a good amount of guys who went to UNC. A lot of good players come from Charlotte. In terms of media attention, (Charlotte Catholic has) done a good job with exposure, so I feel prepared for that too.

DTH: What will be the most difficult part of the transition from high school to college?
EH: Everyone in college is good now— I won’t be facing any five foot five quarterbacks anymore. There won’t be any more 200 pound linemen, they’ll be closer to 300. The guys you are going to go against have been recruited too, so you know they are going to be good. The speed of the game is going to take some transitioning too. Off the field, time management is going to be the most important thing for me. There are more demanding classes, so it’s important to keep up with your academics too.

DTH: What is your relationship like with the other members of your class, specifically other recruits from Charlotte?
EH: I’ve seen some of them around, but because of the whole Notre Dame thing, I haven’t gotten to meet everyone in the class yet. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the further away guys from Georgia and Florida and Virginia, like Allen (Artis) and Caleb (Henderson). I’m excited to get together with them.

DTH: How is your relationship with the coaching staff?
EH: I have a great relationship with the whole staff, we get along really well. They know what they want from their players and how guys are supposed to perform in their schemes.

DTH: Who on the team do you get along with best and what impact did they have in bringing you to Chapel Hill?
EH: Probably just because I played high school ball with him, I’d say Collin Porter. We were teammates, so theres a connection there. I’ve talked some with Marquise (Williams) and I know Damien Washington too, but none of those guys really had an impact on my commitment. It’s just a place I really want to be, and I’m glad to have them there.

DTH: You visited campus last week. What were your impressions of Carolina?
EH: It’s beautiful there, it has such a nice campus. It’s really green, they like their plants there. It’s the bustling, busy college town I was expecting to see. I love the atmosphere there.

DTH: What football-related activities did you do on your visit?
EH: I went to practice and ate with some of the guys, it was really cool, really interesting. I actually got to go into the position room with the running backs, so I got to see what it was like. It was good to get to know some of my future teammates.

DTH: UNC already has good stable of young running backs with Romar Morris, Khris Francis, and T.J. Logan. How do you see yourself fitting into the equation?
EH: I’m definitely the [biggest] guy in the group. I expect they would bring me in to run it up the middle, to run downhill. I’ll find out what kind of impact I can make once I get there, but I’m going to do what I can.

DTH: What are some of your strengths as a player? What do you still need to work on?
EH: I would say my power-speed combination is my best strength. I like to read the hole and get downfield in a hurry. I think the biggest thing I need to work on is my pass-blocking— you don’t do that much of that in high school. When it comes time for me to learn about protections and blocking, I need to really buckle down and pick it up.

DTH: What were your thoughts on the Miami game?
EH: It was exciting, a real roller-coaster of a game. It was a lot of fun watching. I was upset we didn’t come up with the win, and I could see where I could have come in and helped out. There were times when the offense moved the ball down the field in a hurry, and the defense gelled together and locked it down. They got pressure on the quarterback, and I know that is something they’ve been working on improving.

DTH: Besides football, what about UNC excites you?
EH: The education. Academically, it’s one of the best schools in the country. I’m excited to play for an in-state team, and I’m ready to rep UNC the best I can.

DTH: Is there anything you want to tell the fans at UNC?
EH: Just to strap up and be prepared. There are a lot of bright spots on the team to build on. I know we can turn it around, and I want to be a part of that change.

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