Rebels host key recruit

The 6' 5", 255 pound Knoxville Catholic product has pretty much narrowed it down to Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, and Auburn. He had a chance to take in a Tiger and Yellow Jacket game earlier this year. This past weekend, he made it over to the Oxford campus.

"I brought my dad and best friend over there with me," added Daniel Hood. "I think my father was impressed, but he does not want to interfere with my recruitment so he keeps his opinions to himself."

What was Daniel focusing on while he was on the visit?

"I really was not focused on any one specific thing. I was just going to see what the general atmosphere was like. I wanted to meet the players and see what they were like, and I wanted to talk to the coaches. I wanted to get a good general idea of what it would be like to go to school there, and I think I did that."

What did Hood find out?

"It is a fun place to play. The fans are great, and it is a great little town to live in. I like the town a lot because it is a true college town. That makes it a lot of fun. The overall atmosphere was great. I liked it a lot."

Out of all of the aspects; what stood out the most about Ole Miss?

"I thought the coaches and players really stood out to me. I met with Coach Austin, and he was incredible. Every coach I met left an impression with me. Ole Miss is a great fit for me."

Did Daniel get to meet any of the players?

"We hung around after the game and went into their locker room. Most of the players were pretty upset so we did not try to approach them. I liked how it felt in the locker room. They were not like, oh well, we lost. They were really upset about it. I saw some really angry players and coaches in that locker room. That really impressed me. That shows me that they really care to get better. I like that kind of atmosphere."

Hood took in a visit to Georgia Tech a couple weekends back to see them play Mississippi State.

"It was a pretty good game. Georgia Tech rushed for 400 plus yards (laugh). That was pretty impressive. The City (of Atlanta) is nice. The coaches are nice. I mean, I had a good time there too."

Auburn is also one of Daniel's finalist.

"My visit there was pretty good. I got to watch them play Tennessee. I had a good time. The game was not that much fun to watch because it was a battle of defenses, but Auburn won it, and that was pretty good."

Each of the three schools is recruiting Hood for different positions.

"Ole Miss likes me at tight end. Georgia Tech likes me as an offensive lineman, and Auburn really has not said. They just want to get me on campus. But I think they are looking at me for either offensive tackle or defensive tackle."

Which position does Hood feel like he is best suited for on the next level?

"I am really looking at how I do this year. This is the first year I have played tight end. If I do good, I am going to choose Ole Miss over Georgia Tech. But if I am a bust at tight end, I am going to Georgia Tech and play on the offensive line."

Daniel's season and team this season has been anything but a bust.

"We are doing really well. We are a perfect 7-0 going into our bye this week. Our goal was to win every game, and we have been successful so far. Everything has gone as planned. The young guys have played well. As a team we have made some mistakes, but we are improving and that is all you can ask for. As for me, I think I have gotten back to where I was last year and have even gotten better. I am finally in shape to play on both sides of the ball. I play defensive tackle and tight end. I do not know my specific stats, but I have a couple of sacks, a couple of forced fumbles, and I have caught some pretty good passes for some good yards. I have played pretty efficient."

What improvements has Hood seen in his game this season?

"I am staying lower off of the ball and I am more aggressive. I am an efficient pass rusher. I am demanding double teams now, and I am doing well with them. I have not had any injuries, which has been a blessing. I have not missed as many blocks as I did last year too. I am driving people back and creating a hole. I am just a lot stronger now. In the offseason, I increased my bench by 75 pounds, squat by a 100 pounds, and my power clean by 90 pounds. The added strength has helped me out a lot."

Has Daniel begun to set up his official visits yet?

"I am going over to Ole Miss when they play MSU (11/28), and I am going over to Georgia Tech on December 12th. Those are the only two visits I have set up so far."

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