May 5, 2009

Vols add Catholic's Hood to 09 Class

Tennessee yet again gathered a late addition to its 2009 football signing class on Tuesday when it accepted the signature of former Knoxville Catholic standout Daniel Hood.

The 2008 Tennessee Mr. Football award winner in the Class 3A linemen division, Hood inked with the University of Tennessee after a protracted recruiting process that culminated Tuesday inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center on campus.

"Any good emotions that are possible, I think I have had today," said Hood, who helped lead Catholic to a 15-0, Class 3A state championship season in 2008. "It's been very relieving, very joyful. It's been great being able to talk to some family. A lot of my family is from East Tennessee, and it's 'Go Vols!' ... It's been great, but it's really hard to describe the emotions. It's awesome."

The 6-foot-5-inch, 255-pounder with sub-5.0 speed was rated the No. 35 offensive tackle and a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. Hood indicated that last summer his offer sheet ballooned to 27 scholarships, but a protracted recruitment that evolved because of character questions culminated more than two months after National Signing Day.

"There was a lot of times where you kind of feel like, 'Ah, this is too hard.' You kind of want to give up," said Hood, who spoke candidly about his past for an upcoming VolQuest.com story. "But through the whole thing, I just had to fall back on my faith and leave everything in God's hands. Just say, 'You know what, You take it. You are better at this than I am.'

"I've had a great support staff from the administration at Catholic to the families at Catholic and a lot of the college coaches I've talked to have been really supportive. I've had a lot of help to make it through."

Hood was initially contacted by first-year Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin in December, and the two began the complex process at that time. On Tuesday after helping his team with a winning throw in the discus competition at an area prep track meet, Hood saw his father, Allyn Hood, at the end of the track.

"He said, 'When you get done, we need to go over to Tennessee and get a scholarship,'" Daniel Hood recalled. "It's been a pretty special day."

The addition of Hoods brings Kiffin's inaugural recruiting class to a total of 22 signees. It was rated the nation's No. 10 class overall by Rivals.com prior to the addition of the three-star prospect.

VolQuest.com sat down with Hood for more than an hour on Tuesday afternoon and will have much more in-depth coverage on his addition to the Vols' signing class in the next 24 hours.


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