Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Charlotte Catholic's Elijah Hood apologizes for "Roll Toilet"

Charlotte Catholic All-America football player Elijah Hood got a swift lesson about the strength of social media and the spotlight that recruiting can put on top high school athletes Tuesday night.

Hood, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior, committed to Notre Dame in April. He was the Observer's offensive player of the year in 2012, when he rushed for a Mecklenburg County record 3,309 yards and a record 48 touchdowns.

Tuesday night, Hood started a firestorm after he downloaded a social media app on his smartphone called Vine. It lets users create short videos that repeat themselves over and over when watched.

As a joke, Hood made a Vine video he called "Roll Toilet." In it, he showed a stack of recruiting letters he'd gotten from Alabama and Tide coach Nick Saban. Next, he held an envelope from one of the letters above the toilet and flushed it down.

As he did, Hood said "Roll Toilet," a parody on the famous "Roll Tide" chant from Alabama fans.

"I made the video right before I went to bed," Hood said. "I was like, 'What am I gonna do for my first Vine? I said, 'let me think of something.'"

Hood's attempt at humor was all over social media quickly Tuesday night, landing on nationwide recruiting sites and message boards. Hood, who has a huge sense of humor, said he was simply having a little fun and making a joke, but now understands how when you become a top level national recruit, as he has, your audience grows exponentially.

It's not just you tweeting to your buddies anymore.

"I want to apologize," he said. "It was an attempt at humor. I have no disdain or disrespect for their program (at Alabama). It was just a joke. It's a privilege to be a Division I athlete, of course. It was something that was a joke and I've got to put it behind me now."

Hood said he knew as soon as posted the video that things were spreading quickly.

"It was getting everywhere Tuesday night and I woke up this morning and it was on ESPN," he said. "I'm like, 'Oh great. It's really, really gotten out of hand. It got pretty big pretty fast."

Hood said in interviews, he's always been guarded about his comments, particularly when talking about other schools or opponents, but says he'll now apply that same discretion to social media. He's removed the Vine video post.

"I learned a little lesson," he said. "Things can blow up pretty quickly. That's what happens. I already am conscious about posting things but honestly, it was a joke and some people don't have the same sense of humor I guess."

Hood said the tweet and Vine post had led to a few nasty replies from Crimson Tide fans.

"Of course, that goes with college," he said. "It's all love. It doesn't get to me. People will love their program and be fanatical and I love that. It shows me the fiery fan bases and all that. That's what you play football for, for the big time fan bases and the hate and the love and all that together. Ultimately, you've gotta be ready to walk the walk if you're gonna talk the talk. I'm ready for that."

The other thing Hood is ready for is to try to help recruits get to Notre Dame. He's become the school's southern based recruiting coordinator of sorts. He asks the coaches about players they're interested in and combs recruiting sites to find top athletes who are interested in the Fighting Irish. Then Hood reaches out to them via social media to get their contact info. And then he sells Notre Dame himself.

"I try to holler at kids and get them to come," he said. "I'm doing this on social media and talking to them, trying to get familiar with them. The more familiar they are with you and your program the better. The recruits care about who they're going to be with when they're at the university. I just try to introduce myself to them."

So Elijah Hood will keep on tweeting, but he'll just be a little more careful about what he says.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Charlotte Catholic RB and Notre Dame commit Elijah Hood flushes Alabama letter

"Roll Toilet."

That's what Elijah Hood has to say to Nick Saban and Alabama football, which apparently is still sending him letters despite his April commitment to Notre Dame.

Hood, a running back and linebacker for Charlotte Catholic, filmed himself taking one of his letters with Alabama's script 'A' and flushing it down the toilet. He tweeted a link to the post on Vine, an app that allows users to post short video clips of no more than six seconds.

In the Vine, Hood shows multiple letters from Alabama addressed to him in the care of Charlotte Catholic. He says "Dang, Nick Saban hooked your boy up" before cutting to the clip of one letters floating in a toilet. He finishes the post saying, "Roll Toilet," a parody on the popular "Roll Tide" saying by Alabama fans.

He has since deleted his Vine post.

Hood likely wouldn't do this with any school. Alabama defeated Notre Dame 42-14 in January in one of the most lopsided BCS National Championship Games in history.

Hood, the Observer's reigning offensive player of the year, rushed for a county-record 3,309 yards and 48 touchdowns in 2012. He plans to enroll in South Bend after his June 2014 graduation. He was heavily recruited by many of the top programs in the nation and ultimately selected the Fighting Irish over North Carolina.

"There are plenty of good schools close by," Hood told the Observer in April, "but there's something about Notre Dame. It's a great place with so much history and tradition. They have stuff I couldn't have dreamed of. They wowed me. They took my breath away at times. I knew it was the place."

--Jonathan Jones

Saturday, June 1, 2013

South Mecklenburg wins NCHSAA 4A baseball title

South Mecklenburg's baseball team won its first N.C. High School Athletic Association title in 24 years Saturday, rallying to beat Fuquay Varina at Five County Stadium in Zebulon.

The Sabres lost Game 1 Friday night 3-2 and were down to their last inning in Game 2, before rallying for two runs in the seventh and final inning for a 2-1 win.

South looked spent in the deciding Game 3, falling behind 4-0 before rallying for four run in the bottom of the second and bringing home insurance runs in the third and fourth. South Meck won 7-4 behind pitcher Austin Wynn, who gave up four runs in the first two innings but none the rest of the way.

South Meck won the 1989 state title and lost in the 2005 final.

Walker Barbee's big hit lifts West Stanly to NCHSAA 2A softball crown

West Stanly lost to South Granville in the 1996 and ’98 NCHSAA state softball championships.

Walker Barbee made sure that didn’t happen in 2013.

Barbee’s hit up the middle drove in two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday, lifting West Stanly to an emotional 4-3 win over South Granville in the 2A state championship game.

Savannah Blalock of West Stanly was named tournament MVP. She pitched a complete game in Friday’s 8-5 win. That win snapped South Granville’s 18-game win streak. Saturday, Blalock allowed four hits, pitching the complete game.

West Stanly (28-4) was in the finals for the first time since 2003.