Collins, Dinkins Aiding Hood Recruitment

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Since he de-committed from Notre Dame almost a week ago, Elijah Hood has been in contact with several North Carolina verbal commitments, including fellow Charlotte natives Cayson Collins and Robert Dinkins.

"He called me Thursday night," Dinkins said. "We were just talking about (his season-opening) game. I told him I'll probably come out and check him out.

"I asked him about Notre Dame and he said it just wasn't the right thing for him. He said it didn't have anything to do with anything else.

"I asked him about Chapel Hill and he said he'll see me soon. I don't know how else you can take that."

Once they realized that Charlotte Catholic was playing on Saturday night, Collins and Dinkins devised a plan to attend the game to show their support.

"With Elijah being up for grabs since he de-committed, Dink and I felt we should show him a little bit of love," Collins said.

"It's all about being the best," Dinkins said. "So you want the best recruiting class. We felt like Elijah Hood – well, I'm sure everybody felt Elijah Hood is the best addition for their recruiting class. We're just doing whatever we can do help out our school."

Because of their schedules, traffic, and finding a parking spot, Collins and Dinkins didn't reach the field of Keffer Stadium until after halftime. By that point, Hood had already rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns, and the score was knotted at 14.

Shortly after they reached the field, Hood ripped off his second longest run of the night. He broke a couple of tackles and then bolted 47 yards for the end zone. On his way to Charlotte Catholic's bench, he spotted Collins and Dinkins.

"He came over and gave us a big hug and said, ‘What's up boys,'" Collins said. "It's actions like that that let us even though he's on the fence, he knows where he wants to be."

Dinkins handicaps UNC's chances as "very strong."

"Everybody knows that Elijah Hood is a tough nut to crack, but he's not going to just come out and say where he's going," Dinkins said. "But you have to take everything into consideration. From me talking to him on the phone to [Saturday] night, the attention he's showing back to us I just feel like it's definite. I haven't heard anybody else come out the woodwork."

Hood ended the game with 323 yards and five scores on 37 carries (8.7-yard average) – impressing even the most difficult critics.

"I'll sum it up with one word," Dinkins said. "One word: ‘Wow' – just ‘Wow.'

"I've played football for a good number of years and I'm a hard critic. When I see somebody, there's always something I can say they can do better or I might think ‘He's not much to me.' But Elijah Hood, [Saturday] night, wow. He is really a good ‘back. He carried this team on his back. If you took Elijah Hood off this team, there is no Charlotte Catholic."

"He scored all of their points," Collins added.

Both Collins's and Dinkins's teams are in the South Meck 8 Conference with Charlotte Catholic. They have both played against Catholic in the past and will share the field with him later this season.

"I just feel like you have to stack the box," Collins said. "They're only passing when they need to and they're a run team. If you put enough people in the box and everybody hits their gaps, I feel like you should be able to stop him in the backfield. But he's a hard runner and stopping that is going to be a task in its own no matter what you do."

Outside of recruiting for UNC, Collins and Dinkins have begun to eye what Tar Heel home games they'll be attending. According to them, they'll definitely be on hand for the home opener on Sept. 7 against Middle Tennessee and the "Zero Dark Thursday" game against Miami in October.

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