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Elijah Hood opens up his recruitment

NCHSAA Playoffs

Charlotte Catholic’ Elijah Hood gets past A.L. Brown defenders for a touchdown run during the third round of the NCHSAA playoffs Friday night in Charlotte. Catholic won the game 49-18. (photo by James Nix)

James Nix

One of the stars of Notre Dame’s current recruiting class is stepping back from his commitment. North Carolina’s Elijah Hood, a five-star prospect according to some recruiting services, is no longer verbally committed to Notre Dame. The 5-foot-11, 225-pound running back that served as one of the “Golden Army’s” top prospect-recruiters, is now reexamining where he’ll spend his college career.

Hood’s decommitment comes at an interesting time. With almost six months to go before Signing Day, the Irish coaching staff will likely continue to recruit Hood hard, reminding the Charlotte native what made Notre Dame such an attractive option to begin with. But with a depth chart that now includes highly touted freshmen Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston, along with more veteran depth like Amir Carlisle, George Atkinson, Cam McDaniel, and Will Mahone, it’s likely that one or more programs have crept into Hood’s inner circle and made him decide to open things up and take official visits.

Hood was an All-State running back at Charlotte Catholic last season, rushing for prodigious numbers so far in his career while leading his team to a state championship appearance. While some have reported that distance from home could be a concern, it’s not hard for Hood to see players like Ben Councell, Mark Harrell, Kendall Moore, Prince Shembo and Romeo Okwara from North Carolina and understand that it’s possible to succeed in South Bend from the Tar Heel state.

Running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Alford was a key figure in Hood’s eventual commitment to the Irish over home state North Carolina. At the time of his commitment in April, Hood made a quick decision after an official visit to South Bend to become the Irish’s first five-star pledge in the ’14 recruiting class.