Notre Dame's 2014 recruiting class expanded to eight members on Sunday afternoon when Charlotte Catholic (Charlotte, N.C.) running back Elijah Hood committed to the Irish via Twitter following an unofficial campus visit this weekend.
Officially committing to The University of Notre Dame!
— Elijah Hood (@EHood34) - April 28, 2013
Hood is rated as a 5-star prospect by Rivals and a 4-star prospect by 247Sports. He is rated as the No. 50 player nationally in the 247Composite, which factors in rankings from multiple recruiting reporting outlets.
At 5'11" and 222 pounds, Hood is a compact runner who should excel between the tackles with the Irish. He also plays linebacker at Charlotte Catholic but projects as a running back at the next level.
Hood had seemingly narrowed his college decision down to Notre Dame and North Carolina, which is just two hours away from his home in Charlotte. A commitment seemed unlikely after this weekend's visit, especially with Brian Kelly out of town at the NFL draft, but Hood elected to pull the trigger over nine months before national signing day on Feb. 5, 2014.
Upon his arrival in South Bend, Hood will join a crowded backfield. The 2014 running back roster should include George Atkinson III, Cam McDaniel, Amir Carlisle, Will Mahone, Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston. Only Atkinson III will be in his final year of eligibility in 2014.
The commitment of Hood caps a very successful week for the Notre Dame football program. In addition to having six players selected in the NFL draft, it received commitments from both Hood and Illinois tight end Nic Weishar.
The Irish class now consists of a running back (Hood), a tight end (Weishar), a wide receiver (Justin Brent), two offensive linemen (Jimmy Byrne and Sam Mustipher), a defensive tackle (Jay Hayes), a defensive end (Andrew Trumbetti) and a linebacker (Greer Martini).
With the recent transfers of Justin Ferguson, Gunner Kiel and Davonte Neal, the available number of scholarships in 2014 should be in the 21-22 range. Notre Dame has plenty of work remaining to complete this class, including its two critical positions of need—wide receiver and linebacker.
While North Carolina likely won't stop recruiting Hood, this is a major coup for Notre Dame, which continues to make major in-roads in the Southeast. The Irish will begin playing five games annually against ACC opponents in 2014, Hood's freshman year.