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Friday, February 22, 2013
UGA on familiar path with Elijah Hood

By Kipp Adams

ESPN Watch List running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) rushed for 5,291 yards and 83 touchdowns combined in his sophomore and junior seasons. Recently several schools extended offers to the 6-foot, 205-pound prospect, putting his available scholarship options to at least 20.

One program in particular caught his eye.

“The offer that really stands out recently is the University of Georgia,” Hood said. “They have been a really stable program over the years. I have heard it is a great school and that Athens is a great place to play football. Everybody I have talked to, even if they might not like Georgia as an opponent, says it is a pretty good program to go to overall. If I can get a great education, play in the SEC, and win a lot of football games, then why not just give them a good look.”

The Bulldogs moved quickly on Hood after getting his film in last week, making the call to the coaching staff at his high school Monday. After one conversation with UGA running backs coach Bryan McClendon and head coach Mark Richt, Hood was impressed.

“McClendon said they decided they wanted me to give them a shot,” Hood said. “He asked me to come on down and just get them a good look and I said I could probably do that. Then he put me on the phone with (Richt). They both seem like they want to do what is best for you as a player and just how they want you to be successful at the collegiate level and after school.

“... They told me the fact is their backfield is shallow right now, so they are looking for talent. When they go out of state, it is for a player that can really help their program and that is a testament to me and what they think I can do.”

Hood admits that the Bulldogs were a bit unknown to him before this week.

“I never knew anything about Georgia until I spoke to them Monday, and Coach McClendon laughed and said he had this same exact conversation with Todd Gurley two years ago,” Hood said. “He said Todd knew nothing about Georgia that May, but the more the learned the more he wanted to go there -- and look how well that turned out.”

Hood has taken notice.

This weekend, Hood is taking a three-day trip to three of his top five schools at the moment. He will be at Notre Dame Friday, Michigan Saturday and Ohio State on Sunday. He hopes to make a North Carolina basketball game against Duke on March 9, and possibly visit Georgia later this spring. If Georgia wants to crack Hood’s top five, they will need to make sure he learns more about Georgia and gets to know the Bulldogs’ coaching staff more.

“I have Notre Dame No. 1, North Carolina No. 2, Clemson No. 3, Michigan No. 4 and Ohio State No. 5,” Hood said. “I know a lot about Notre Dame and a lot of family and friends have been there. Maybe Ohio State or Michigan will surprise me and maybe I even like them more than Notre Dame. I am just looking to see what they have to offer. North Carolina and Clemson are two programs I am comfortable with so that is why I have them ahead of the other two.”

A commitment could come before fall.

“I would like to get my decision out of the way before the season starts,” Hood said. “I do not want to rush it, but if I feel ready I am going to make my choice.”