Offensive lineman Jacob Hood is the embodiment of going all in

This is the latest story in the Early Enrollee Review series, which will focus on one of Georgia’s first signings for the 2022 signing class. Today’s Location: Three-star offensive lineman Jacob Hood.

When Hillsborough High School head coach Anthony Brown thinks back to the time he first met an attacking lineman. Jacob HoodBrown can’t help but be amazed at how much the young man’s life has changed since then.

Hood arrived in Hillsboro in Nashville, Tennessee via Ensworth High School before his sophomore season. While the Hood’s size was an obvious strength, it was also a major concern: The 6-foot-8-foot hood weighed more than 400 pounds.

Hood’s weight alarmed his new coaches as did the academics: Hood was significantly behind in the start of his high school career.

Brown – who was Hillsborough’s defensive coordinator at the time – and the other coaches felt strongly that Hood could play at the next level; He just had to do his best to get his body shape and grades.

Slowly but surely, Hood achieved both goals.

Hood cut nearly 50 pounds off his chassis and greatly improved his grades, both of which contributed to him being a highly desirable recruit. The three-star prospect had a number of options before committing to Georgia in August and signing with Bulldogs in December.

“I think he did a full 180 just the way he does and he understood that the work was important to him to be successful,” Brown said. “I think it will bring that hard-working ability you guys already have. [Georgia has] A history of putting down these offensive navigators. I think he could be the next person to be drafted, you know, in three or four years.”

Hillsboro coach Maurice Fitzgerald at the time knew Hood had potential, but Fitzgerald also realized that Hood’s weight put him at risk of injuries and hurt his recruiting prospects.

In order to get Hood in better shape, Fitzgerald eventually sought help from his son.

Buck Fitzgerald runs the National Academy of Playmakers, a Nashville training ground for student-athletes on and off the field where players like wide receiver Georgia, Adonay Mitchell, Michigan junior quarterback Coulson and Olly Mays running back Zach Evans participated.

NPA offers a number of drills and exercises to its clients; For Hood, boxing has become a big attraction

About a year and a half ago, Hood began doing a lot of agility and line training alongside boxing, which led him to the Punches n’ Bunches boxing studio in downtown Nashville on a regular basis. Buck Fitzgerald estimated that Hood’s mother, Shamica Bell, drove Hood back and forth across town roughly six days a week as Hood began to get his body right.

He didn’t miss at all, shaving the weight with that and nutrition,” Buck Fitzgerald said. “[The boxing] It became a big thing – it actually made him famous. Other navigators started to go, and then a lot of skill men started to go. Guys like Adonai Mitchell were very consistent in that, and they got really violent with their own hands.

“Adonai and Jacob walked into the ring for a little sparring session. Once Jacob got serious, Adonai immediately walked out of the ring. There was a lot of laughter about that.”

When Buck Fitzgerald discussed Hood’s commitment to the cause, he brought up a moment Hood had with the recruiter that really opened his eyes.

Young Fitzgerald said he felt the message didn’t get to Hood until Hood had a conversation with Eric Wolford, the South Carolina offensive line coach at the time. Wolford told Hood that he had many players in the NFL, but none of them were as talented as Hood.

“From that day forward, he really attacked all the initiatives we gave him,” Buck Fitzgerald said.

Hood’s work improved stamina and improved performance on the court, particularly with the movement of his foot. Brown remembered watching Hood do bag training during his freshman year and realized Hood’s potential had finally been realized.

With Hood busy with rehearsals, he was fully committed to getting his grades in order.

Morris Fitzgerald said that Hood’s struggles in certain areas of his school duties led to his being diagnosed with dyslexia. Hood became more comfortable having conversations with his teachers about his problems afterward, and began working with a teacher who taught the ACT about four nights a week.

Coming to his final year at Hillsboro, Hood had just managed a 4.0 GPA.

“I’ve never seen anything like this to be honest — to come from where he was able to get the grades he wanted. I saw so much willpower, so much determination and also put a support system around him,” Maurice Fitzgerald said. I see a young man doing this work habit, because he was always a good person.”

Hood’s transformation as a student and as a soccer player came as he worked to find his next-level home.

Brown recalled that Hood had been impressed by his visits to Mississippi and Miami (Florida), but when Georgia showed interest, Brown urged him to pay. Hood – who has family in Georgia – cheered Brown about his Athens experience and explained the coaches, city and facilities that left him so impressed.

About two months later, Hood vowed to be a Bulldog.

Brown spoke about how beneficial it would be to Hood to register early in Georgia, explaining that it lays the foundation for balancing football and academics and could give Hood a chance for some other freshmen. Brown emphasized Hood’s portability, which Brown believes will prove to be a huge asset to the freshman in Georgia.

Hood faced significant hurdles in his pursuit of college football, and although the path he faced was daunting at times, he never gave up. The result of his hard work was a place in Georgia, where his former coaches believed he was destined to shine.

“I think he’s going to be one of the next good guys — one of the next great people,” Brown said. “The expectation and the standard here in Hillsboro was for him to be great, and we feel he will continue to do so in Georgia.”

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