With Signing Day for the Class of 2012 long passed, it’s clear Notre Dame assistant Mike Elston is no longer walking the halls of Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina to recruit offensive line signee Mark Harrell.
While Notre Dame is excited to have Harrell join the team this summer, these days the Irish have their eyes focused on Charlotte Catholic’s 2014 running back Elijah Hood.
The 6-foot, 212-pound Hood already has offers from Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, East Carolina, Virginia and Vanderbilt.
“It’s exciting,” Hood said of seeing his recruitment kick into full gear this spring. “It’s great. It gives you an opportunity to get a great education. It’s a great opportunity and I’m going to capitalize on it.”
Hood, who was clocked at 4.55 in the 40-yard dash at a recent Nike combine, rushed for 1,941 yards and 35 touchdowns on 187 carries as a sophomore.
“I’m big, I’ve got a good mixture of speed and strength,” said Hood. “I run through tackles, I’m aggressive. I can block, I don’t shy away from contact. I’ve got a good attitude and will do what it takes to win.”
Notre Dame hasn’t pulled the trigger with an offer yet, but the Irish are recruiting him hard.
“They’ve definitely shown interest,” Hood said. “They’ve come by plenty of times. I already feel pretty comfortable with the school.”
The interest is clearly mutual.
“It’s a great school, great education,” Hood said. “I like the program, I like the style. I’m probably going to go up there this summer to see the campus and meet the people to see if I really like the school.
“Mark told me it’s a great school. He’s going to try to take me up there. He wants to show me the place, so that’s probably the person I’m going to go up there with. It’s probably going to be sometime in June.”
Hood hasn’t had the chance to take too many college visits to this point.
“I haven’t, but I’m definitely going to try to get around to some of these schools this summer,” he said.
In addition to South Bend, Hood is hoping to make stops at Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Tennessee among others.
“I’m going to go around,” he said. “I’m just picking and choosing. I’ve got to get a feel for everywhere because I haven’t been anywhere yet.
“I’m looking for a good education and a pretty good football program. I want to see if I like the campus. I kind of want somewhere that’s close, but it’s not that important. Just the people there and if I could really see myself going to that school and being able to fit in.”