Jacob Hood explains why Vols are in top-6
Tennessee made the cut for in-state offensive lineman Jacob Hood.
The 6-foot-8, 350-pounder unveiled his top-six programs on Monday and it wasn’t really a surprise the Vols made the cut, despite turnover in the program recently.
“Tennessee has always been good to me. Staying at home and to play in a state I’m comfortable in – that would be amazing for me,” Hood told Volquest. “I’m curious about coach [Josh] Heupel. Over the next year, I’m interested to see how he’ll perform in rebuilding the program.”
UT initially offered the Nashville, Tenn. native back in June, following the lead of Southeastern Conference foes Texas A&M and Ole Miss. Hood built a strong bond with the previous coaching staff – specifically with Jeremy Pruitt and Tee Martin.
But Heupel has already made a good impression – good enough to stay in the race.
“When I got off the phone with him, I realized how easy he was to talk to,” the in-state prospect said of the new Vols coach. “He seems like a real good all-around person. He’s very down to earth and I can tell he’s already connecting to his players.”
Heupel initially reached out to the lineman two days after accepting the Tennessee job on January 27. The two have been texting frequently since that first conversation.
“He said he watched my film and likes the way I move,” Hood said of Heupel. “He said he noticed my footwork and the aggressiveness with my hands – and my size, too. He thinks I’d be a good fit at Tennessee.
“I think it would be a lot of fun to play for him. He played quarterback at a high level, so I know he’s an offensive-minded guy. I’m curious to see how he’ll change that offense there and what they’ll be able to do.”
Hood, like the rest of the 2022 class, has been locked out of in-person recruiting for nearly a year now, and needs to take visits before any decision is made. Until that’s an option, don’t expect a commitment of any kind from the Hillsboro standout.
Joining the Vols in Hood’s top-6 released on Monday was Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Baylor and Georgia Tech.
“I’ve built a strong connection and bond with all these coaches and a bond is one of the strongest things I look for throughout this process,” Hood said of his final schools. “These are the programs I can see myself being successful in – even if I’m not playing football again. They are the schools I feel like will set me up for life.
“I want that.”
The four-star, who garners over 20 offers at the moment, has transformed his body over the course of the past year and a half – dropping 60 pounds prior to his junior campaign. He drills and lifts weekly at the National Playmakers Academy in Nashville with fellow highly-touted in-state prospects.
As Hood ventures through the last stage of his recruiting process, he’ll continue to build on the relationship with Heupel. The state’s 15th-ranked prospect plans to camp this summer as well.