Hood Experiences One Of His Best Visits

Following a tour of Midwest schools, North Carolina was knocked out of Elijah Hood's top three schools list. The Tar Heels roared back onto that list after Hood attended UNC's Junior Day on Saturday.

"Honestly, I loved it," Hood said. "I loved it, really. I didn't even stay the night there and it was one of my best visits to a college."

Hood, a 6-foot, 209-pound running back from Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic, has made several visits to UNC in the past, but Saturday's stay was unlike any other trip.

"It went better than expected," Hood said. "It was very unique, very fun. They really spiced it up. I've never ever been to a junior day like that one."

A few weeks back, Hood made back-to-back-to-back visits to Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. When he returned home, he listed (in order) Notre Dame, Michigan, and Ohio State as his top three.

Saturday's visit to UNC forced Hood to reshuffle that listing.

"I've put [UNC] behind Notre Dame, but they're probably the closet that any school any school has ever been at this moment," Hood said.

The combination of academics and athletics keeps Notre Dame entrenched as Hood's leader.

"I put [Notre Dame] No. 1 right now, but really I think North Carolina has a pretty good chance," Hood said. "North Carolina has something that Notre Dame can't offer – the fact that they're closer and that's a real big thing for me."

Having visited all of the schools he's considering, Hood, whose goal is to make a verbal commitment before his senior football season begins, is now contemplating the next step of his recruitment.

"I guess I have to keep going to the places, because I have to figure this out," Hood said. "I have to look at what I'm trying to do here. I have to start thinking ahead and what I want to do with my life and figure out what college is best for me."

Hood says he's "probably" going to attend Notre Dame's Spring Game and is "definitely" going to return to UNC in some capacity.

Hood says the highlight of his UNC visit Saturday was when select visitors, including Hood, took questions in the press conference room from the podium.

"Man, it was funny," Hood said. "I don't get real nervous about that stuff so I enjoyed it. I had fun answering all the questions. They didn't ask me any funny questions – they asked me serious questions like one about replacing Gio [Bernard]. I liked the favorite food questions and the ‘What animal would you compare your play to.'"

A close second, Hood says, was when the UNC coaching staff was announced to the visitors during dinner. One by one, the coaches ran into the dining hall (a la the ‘90s Chicago Bulls) with funny descriptions of each.

"I didn't know what to expect," Hood said. "I was waiting to see what was going on. Those guys are wild. When they introduced Coach [Gunter] Brewer they said he was one of the original Oompa Loompas. I was thinking, ‘I can't believe they're doing this.' It was so funny."

Hood and his father arrived in Chapel Hill five hours early where they received plenty of one-on-one time with the coaches, particularly Brewer, his primary recruiter, and Larry Fedora.

"They're preaching family, because they know I'm a family guy just from my personality," Hood said. "They're trying to tell me it's different when you're that far away, so why not play right here and play for your state, which makes sense. They really pitched the home school deal to me and I can see it."

Additionally, Hood watched film with Randy Jordan, UNC's running backs coach.

"We talked about the position," Hood said. "He showed me how I would fit into their offense."

Hood's pre-junior day activities also included a full campus tour consisting of the business school, academic support center, and football facilities.

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