The Irish scored a big commit Sunday when Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic four-star running back Elijah Hood announced his commitment, and the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Scout 100 standout gives the Irish a punishing downhill runner who can move the pile in short yardage situations.
"That's what he does," said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons. "He's good at getting that extra yard or two after the initial contact, keeping his legs churning in the pile. It's that good, natural body lean falling forward, stretching the football out to move the chains.
"He also has very deceptive speed. Once he gets to the edge and turns the corner, he has very good straight line speed and it's hard for people to catch him."
Although Hood can be a short-yardage back, his repertoire goes well beyond that.
"He's a kid who you give a little bit of space, a little bit of daylight, and he's going to hit it quickly," Simmons said. "He's going to get downhill and use his power and straight line speed to make a big play.
"As a running back, he's a downhill kid that could easily play linebacker at Notre Dame as well. He's a running back first, though, and he loves the position and I think he'll do very well at Notre Dame."
As a junior, Hood put up ridiculous numbers. He ran 278 times for 3,309 yards and 48 touchdowns.
"Hood is a running back with a special blend of size and speed," said Scout.com recruiting analyst, who covers North Carolina preps. "One of the first things you notice when watching him on film is how hard he runs. While the Charlotte Catholic star has physical, bruising running style, he is also a patient runner and does a good job following his blocks. He has quick feet and very good instincts.
"Hood also does a good job running behind his pads, gets a lot of yards after contact, and has good top-end speed. Overall, there is little doubt that he is not only one of the top running backs in the 2014 class, but one of the top players overall."
Hood's decision goes beyond landing one of the top players in the 2014 class, Simmons added.
"It's a big commit, and it would be a big commit for anyone, and him going to Notre Dame is very big for that program and (coach) Brian Kelly," Simmons said. "I've known Elijah since he was in ninth grade. He hit the scene very early, and what I saw early in the process was his character. He's a high-character kid – yes, sir. No, sir – always on time, very much accountable.
"To me, he's an easy offer for anyone, any type of offense, any type of program. He's a kid that is really going to make your team better, with or without talent."