Notre Dame running back commitment Elijah Hood is on summer vacation right now with school wrapping up for him for the year, but he was on anything but a vacation this past week at The Opening in Oregon. Rather, the 5-star running back was busy showing why he’s been so highly rated with an impressive performance at the Nike event.
Elite athletes from all over the country descended upon the Nike facilities in Oregon this week to compete in various drills, competitions, and 7 on 7s. Part of the event was the SPARQ National Championship – an event that measures a player’s all around athletic ability or “SPARQ” rating.
Elijah Hood turned some heads with his performance in the SPARQ competition placing 5th overall. Weighing in officially at 221 lbs, Hood ran an impressive 4.48 electronically timed 40 yard dash. In the preliminary round, Hood added a 4.20 shuttle time along with a 36.3 inch vertical jump, and 42.5 foot powerball toss.
Hood’s performance was good enough to advance to the finals of the competition where he improved on his vertical jump with a 38 inch jump, but cramps prevented him from running the 40 yard dash again in the finals.
Even without a second 40 yard run, Hood’s performance was enough to show why he is rated a 5-star prospect and why he is such an important recruit for Notre Dame this year. At 221 pounds, his 4.48 40 time is ridiculously good and make it easy to see why people have compared him to Jonas Gray – the last big back Notre Dame had with the same kind of speed that Hood brings to the table.
Outside of the SPARQ championship it’s difficult to gain too much insight into a running back’s game because they typically don’t shine much in 7 on 7 drills. Quarterbacks like to air it out in 7 on 7’s to showcase their arms and dump off passes to running backs don’t really allow them to flash their wares as much as they would like.
Several other Notre Dame recruits on hand at the Opening this week as well. Quarterback Deshone Kizer took part in the Elite 11 competition but unfortunately did not finish in the final 11 signal callers this week. He still showcased the raw skill that has Notre Dame fans excited about his future since he committed last month.
Wide receiver Justin Brent showcased the skills that have him as one of the fastest risers in this year’s class as well. An under the radar recruit when he committed to Notre Dame last fall, he is certainly making his presence he felt as he continues to move up the recruiting rankings. Brent ran a 4.52 electronically timed 40 yard and weighed in just under 200 lbs at 197.
Several highly rated Notre Dame targets were on hand in Oregon this week as well – none bigger, perhaps, than Lorenzo Carter. Carter, an OLB/DE hybrid prospect, showcased freakish athletic ability with a 4.63 40 yard dash and 39.7 vertical jump at 235 lbs. Carter visited Notre Dame last month and figures to be one of the top remaining targets for the Irish this year.