NCF On The Trail: Elijah Hood

Biggest flips: ACC 

February, 3, 2014
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With prospects making commitments earlier than ever, naturally there are second thoughts before signing day. That leads to a number of recruits decommitting and flipping to another school.

Here is a look at five of the biggest flips in the ACC in the 2014 recruiting class.

Updated ESPN 300: ACC analysis 

January, 14, 2014
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With senior seasons and all-star games complete, prospects jumped all over the ESPN 300 with several making their first appearance on the list.

Here are the five biggest movers in the updated ESPN 300 among ACC commitments and targets:

Recent FSU commit rising up the ranks
Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) jumped 21 spots in the updated list and he can thank his dominant Under Armour All-America Game performance for it. The talented receiver hauled in a handful of passes in the game including a solid catch and run against No. 1 cornerback Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic). Later in the game, Rudolph added a nice touchdown grab to complete one of the better performances of the game. Rudolph also committed to Florida State at the game, and Rudolph could see the field early with Kelvin Benjamin off to the NFL. If the Noles can also sign Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead), it would be one of the best receiver classes in 2014 -- and maybe the No. 1 overall receiver tandem of this cycle.


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Midyear signings: North Carolina

January, 10, 2014
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According to GoHeels.com, the following players have enrolled at North Carolina:

Elijah Hood RB Charlotte, N.C./Catholic
HT: 6-0 WT: 221
Positional Rank: #6 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#56)

Bentley Spain OT Charlotte, N.C./Providence
HT: 6-6 WT: 292
Positional Rank: #12 OT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#139)

Allen Artis S Marietta, Ga./Wheeler
HT: 6-0 WT: 195
Positional Rank: #48 S
Stars: 3

M.J. Stewart ATH Arlington, Va./Yorktown
HT: 5-11 WT: 191
Positional Rank: #68 ATH
Stars: 3

Brandon Fritts TE-H Mentor, Ohio/Mentor
HT: 6-4 WT: 210
Positional Rank: #18 TE-H
Stars: 3

Carolinas event loaded with top prospects 

December, 16, 2013
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Carolinas consistently have proved to be one of the top areas in the nation to find gridiron talent. These two states in recent years have produced players like current Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall player in the 2011 class, and Georgia RB Todd Gurley. For the 2014 class, 22 players from these two states are represented in the ESPN 300, and several of them are taking part in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas here this week.


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Duke-UNC attracting attention of recruits 

November, 29, 2013
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A spot in the ACC championship game is on the line when Duke plays North Carolina. Stop me if you’ve heard that before.

But double check the calendar -- this is November. not March; gridiron, not hardwood. A win over rival UNC and the Blue Devils finish the regular season 10-2, are Coastal Division champs and play Florida State for an ACC championship.

David Cutcliffe is doing it with a roster of players that did not garner many looks from other BCS schools coming out of high school. The Duke coach was forced to scour the ranks to find under-the-radar recruits who fit his system, had the grades and wanted to play at Duke. In such a large pool of players, he was casting a small net.


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ACC class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the ACC, check out our conference rankings:

1. Florida State, 24 commits: The Seminoles have the top class in the ACC and the No. 2 class nationally. The class includes 10 ESPN300 prospects, including a trio of linebackers Kain Duab (Jackonsville, Fla./Sandalwood High), Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby High) and Delvin Purifoy (Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola Catholic High). The Semionles could close with a bang with up to 31 or 32 possible in the class. No. 6 Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra High), No. 13 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen High), No. 22 Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara High), No. 28 and Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead High) and a number of others make up the wish list.

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Top ACC recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
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Rivalries extend past the field in college football. The bad blood and feud seeps into the fans, the coaching staffs and especially in the high schools when it comes to top recruits. Often the teams duking it out on Saturdays were going head-to-head in February for several of the players on the field.

The ACC might not be on the same level as the SEC when it comes to recruiting rivalries, but the conference has its fair share, including one of the nation’s most intense.

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ACC recruiting mailbag

September, 20, 2013
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In this week's mailbag, ACC recruiting writers Jared Shanker and Corey Dowlar address a bunch of questions submitted on Twitter.

Florida State, Miami, North Carolina and the ACC newcomers are all covered here.

@jgreco33 asks: Is Miami QB Brad Kaaya a solid lock, and can he come in and play right away? Also, did his mom really play in the movie Friday?

Dowlar: Well, unless San Diego State can somehow unseat Miami for him, I think he's headed to Coral Gables. There isn't a ton of local competition for Kaaya, and Miami has a program of prestige, so on that front, I think the Hurricanes are OK.

He might be able to get into that conversation right away, but I see Kevin Olsen as the future of that offense. Olsen has got a lot of talent and a good arm. I would be surprised if he's not the guy going forward.

As for his mom, a quick search would suggest that she is. I don't know for sure, though, so don't quote me on that.




@ShaneArrington1 asks: Who is the most underrated recruit that could be a huge get for the Noles?

Dowlar: To me, I think this one is obvious from looking at the commitment list.

Ethan Frith is considered a three-star talent by most. And judging from his junior year, that's probably about right. But after seeing him in camp, some 20 or 30 pounds lighter, FSU is going to have a monster offensive tackle to work with.

Trickett absolutely loved him when working with him over the summer. He's a guy who has his weight under control now and can be built up properly. And, oh yeah, he's huge at 6-foot-7.

As far as uncommitted targets who could fit here, two come to mind, really. Frank Ragnow, the offensive tackle out of Minnesota, and Ryan Izzo, the tight end who just visited last weekend, are good looking, physical prospects.




@baxterfsu1 asks: Has joining the ACC helped recruiting for Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville?

Shanker: It can't be pinpointed to just moving to the ACC, but it is clear the impending switch for Louisville is having quite the impact on the Cards' recruiting efforts. The 2013 class finished No. 43 in the country. In 2014, Louisville sits at No. 18 and has five ESPN 300 commitments. For the Cards and Charlie Strong, there is no more answering questions to recruits about the future of the program and whether Louisville is going to be able to compete for national titles. Playing in the Conference Formerly Known as the Big East could have kept Louisville out of the future playoffs.

The Sugar Bowl win against Florida went a long way, too. Let's not forget that.

As for Pittsburgh and Syracuse, I'm not sure the move has paid big dividends yet or if it will at all. The Panthers are recruiting Virginia a lot more and have a shot at ESPN 300 receiver Jamil Kamara. As of now, however, the impact has been minimal. The same can be said for Syracuse. Now, if the Panthers land Kamara or the Orange reel in Thomas Holley, I might change my tune some.




@t_pope10 asks: other than Elijah Hood who is UNC next big recruit? I think Caleb Henderson, and do you think he will start next year?

Shanker: Assuming you mean just UNC commitments, then I would agree it is Henderson. It can still be argued he is the biggest recruit in the 2014 class for the Tar Heels strictly based on the position he plays. With Bryn Renner set to graduate, there is an opportunity to play early next season. However, UNC also has freshman quarterback Mitch Trubisky, an ESPN 300 QB in 2013 who enrolled in January. Trubisky will have two spring practices and a full season uinder his belt heading into the 2014 season. Clearly Henderson has an opportunity to play early, but there is a lot he will need to do to see the field next year as a freshman.




@oalege87 asks: Why does it seem like FSU is lagging behind Florida and Miami for the big names in the state for 2014 and 2015?

Dowlar: I honestly think you could point to the coaching changes of last offseason as the main reason here. Florida State had to replace the majority of their assistants, and that's a lot of relationships to restart.

But I also think it's not insurmountable. If you look at the direction the teams are headed -- and it is obviously early -- Florida State has been the most impressive team of the three. If Jameis Winston continues to play well and the Seminoles have a good year, they'll make that ground up pretty easily.

Yes, I know Miami fans, that was a good win over Florida. But that wasn't necessarily aesthetically pleasing. I think you'll agree with that.

It will, however, be increasingly more difficult for the Seminoles to go into Miami and grab recruits out of there if Miami has a strong season. But the trend of Florida State's targeting seems to be more along the lines of Interstate 10 from Jacksonville to Alabama.

ACC recruiting storylines: Aug. 29 

August, 29, 2013
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As the regular season kicks off this weekend, recruiting, specifically revolving around visits, will start to get going, too.

Here are five storylines to watch as we head in to the opening weekend.

Pitt hosting important group

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ACC class rankings analysis 

August, 28, 2013
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The college football season is just hours away, but several high schools already began playing games this past weekend. With the focus back on the field, recruiting is taking a back seat. That will change in a few days, though, as several ACC schools are playing in marquee Week 1 games that will catch the eye of prospects up and down the East Coast.

Trending up: The ACC is trending up with its scheduling for the opening weekend, as five schools open their season in a game with big recruiting implications. Clemson will host Georgia, and the Tigers have really made big strides in securing Peach State talent. Pitt hosts Florida State, and the Panthers’ four biggest targets all plan to attend the Labor Day game. Although it is at a neutral site, Virginia Tech can make a statement with a win over two-time defending champion Alabama. And Syracuse will play Penn State, a program the Orange routinely recruits against.


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Big Ten class rankings analysis 

August, 28, 2013
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The latest version of the ESPN class rankings is out, and there are seven Big Ten teams within the top-40 classes.

With movement happening across the board, there are trends and stories developing, so Big Ten recruiting writers Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival give you a look at what to watch within the conference:

Trending up

Brad Bournival: Interest in Ohio State after Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer created his own Twitter account. At the urging of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, @OSUCoachMeyer was created. In 12 hours, the account has three tweets -- one an introductory tweet and the other two a bible verse. In those 12 hours, the two-time national champion picked up over 24,000 followers. Incidentally, it looks like the first person Meyer followed drives the keys to the Buckeyes’ Mercedes (@BraxtonMiller5).


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Scouts' take: RB Hood to contribute early 

August, 28, 2013
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ESPN 300 running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic), a one-time Notre Dame verbal, has committed to North Carolina and is now the Tar Heels' top-rated recruit. Read below to see how our scouts feel UNC will utilize the nation's seventh-best back:

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The Early Offer: Robinson's impact 

August, 28, 2013
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Cameron RobinsonGreg Ostendorf/ESPNFriday's decision by offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the No. 3 prospect in the ESPN 300, between LSU and Alabama could foreshadow the last five months of the 2014 cycle.

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Cameron Robinson announces on Friday and his pick could go a long way toward determining who has the No. 1 class, TE DeAndre Goolsby is quickly climbing the charts of many recruiters, and Elijah Hood’s decision could help UNC lure one of nation’s top surprise classes.

Decision day set for Robinson
One of the most significant recruiting battles of the 2014 class will come to close Friday when the nation’s No. 3 overall player Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) announces his decision. Robinson, a five-star prospect, is a franchise offensive tackle that only comes around once every few classes, and the battle between LSU and Alabama is one that could set the tone for the rest of the recruiting season. If LSU lands him, then it could help the Tigers run the table with other high profile in-state recruits like No. 1-ranked Leonard Fournette. That type of run could help the Tigers unseat the Tide from the top spot in the class rankings that it’s held for the last two years. If Alabama lands him, then the Tide basically locks up another No. 1 class with more than five months left in the recruiting calendar. Most projections, including RecruitingNation’s Hot Board, have Robinson leaning towards Alabama.

A picture is worth a thousand words

ESPN 300 RB Elijah Hood picks UNC 

August, 27, 2013
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ESPN 300 running back Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) has only been back on the market for a short while after decommitting from Notre Dame.

Apparently, he didn't like that much. On Tuesday evening, Hood committed to North Carolina and head coach Larry Fedora, as first reported by Tom Loy of Carolinablue.com.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

August, 26, 2013
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A couple of ACC commitments came off the board over the weekend. And, more noticeably, high school football returned.

Here is the latest from both on and off the field in ACC recruiting.


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