Hood Hits Pause

CORNELIUS, N.C. --- There was little incentive for Elijah Hood to attend the Nike SPARQ Combine on Saturday. He has his choice of schools and posted an impressive SPARQ rating at the same combine a year ago.

"I'm just one of those guys that likes to compete," Hood said. "I like comparing myself to everyone. I also like to see if I've bettered myself from last year – I have."

With regards to comparing himself to others, Hood passed the test with flying colors. The Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic running back achieved the day's top SPARQ rating, an assessment of athleticism based on combine numbers and adjusted to the participant's height and weight, accumulating a 108.84 score.

"I do football workouts, but I usually don't prepare for this kind of thing [otherwise]," Hood said. "I just see if I've gotten faster, stronger, if I weigh more. Everything is basically the same as last year – I just gained about nine more pounds, which makes a difference because of the formula they use."

After checking in at 6-foot, 218 pounds, Hood ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and 20-yard shuttle in 4.5 seconds. He also registered a 37-inch vertical jump and 37-foot power ball toss.

Recruiting wise, Hood has decided to hit the reset button.

"I'm not going to put out a top five," said Hood, who was regularly announcing a top five schools list from his Twitter account. "I'm leaving everything as is. I'm just trying to let everything cool off – calm down. Obviously, I still like the schools [in my former top five]. I'm not going to throw anyone out. I'm still thinking. I've got to go back and visit these schools [and] get my parents more involved."

Before pressing the play button, Hood will hold the pause.

"I'm just going to focus on football and school right now and recruiting will do its own thing," Hood said. "I'm just trying to calm down with everything."

Hood revealed that UNC's Junior Day earlier in the month caused him to take a step back.

"It made me realize that I might want to stay close to home," Hood said. "I'm getting pulled in many directions, so I just have to calm down. It's a lot to take in.

"But I think I'm handling it pretty well. I'm just trying to keep myself in control and keep everything else in control."

The entities that are pulling Hood in different directions reside from within.

"It's a win-win situation," Hood said. "I know I'm going to leave something great on the other side, but I have to go with what is best for me. And only I can figure that out."

Hood admitted that prior to that UNC junior day, he was very close to making a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.

"[The UNC Junior Day has] given me caution to think about," Hood said. "Obviously, Notre Dame is still a great school, a great institution, [and] I just like them a great bit. But I'm just taking one step back. It was getting very intense. I don't know where it's going now. I might wait until the summer to do everything over again."

Hood says he will definitely revisit both UNC and Notre Dame before he makes a final collegiate decision. Georgia and Virginia Tech will also likely get a pre-decision visit.

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