Knoxville (Catholic HS), Tenn. prospect Daniel Hood had been to Ole Miss and Oxford before Saturday, but he wasn't quite ready for what he saw when he arrived early Saturday morning.
"We got down around 6 a.m. on Saturday and drove around the (town) square and then over to the Grove," Hood said. "It was incredible. I've never seen so many tents in one place in all my life. It was incredible. I was blown away."
Hood, listed as a three-star rated offensive tackle by Rivals.com, is a 6-foot-5, 255 pound prospect with 4.9 speed that Ole Miss is recruiting as a tight end.
Hood recently listed Ole Miss, Auburn, and Georgia Tech as his top three with no particular favorite, but Ole Miss may have made some ground with Hood after the unofficial visit last weekend.
In addition to offers from all of his favorites, Hood has a long offer sheet that includes the likes of South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Stanford.
Hood said after a tour of the town and the Grove, he went with his father to the Indoor Practice Facility where he was given a tour of the facility, which included the weight room and a walk through the tunnel onto the field about an hour before the game.
Hood was joined by fellow visitor Mike Thomas, an Ole Miss commitment who was on his official visit, and a host of other unofficial visitors that included Rebel verbal commitments Clayton Moore and punter Tyler Campbell. Other prospects on unofficial visits included Prichard, Ala., offensive lineman Clint Marsh; Eight Mile, Ala., cornerback Eric Graham and Mobile, Ala., linebacker Enrique Williams, teammates at Blount High School. Also, Mobile safety Keiron Wilson, Oxford athlete Montez Phillip, Tupelo wide receiver Justin Bean, a Kentucky commitment, and Hattiesburg, Miss., offensive tackle Andrew Phillips attended the game.
"I talked to most of the other visitors," Hood said. "But mostly I just got a football on the sideline and tossed it around some with my Dad. I talked with the quarterback commitment (Clayton Moore), he was pretty cool."
After the game, Hood said he had a pretty long conversation with Rebel offensive coordinator Kent Austin, who is recruiting Hood for the Rebels. Hood previously cited the relationship and his ability to talk at length with Austin as one of the reasons he's very interested in Ole Miss.
When Hood discussed his feedback on the game between the Rebels and South Carolina, a 31-24 Ole Miss loss, he sounded almost disappointed in the results.
"If you take away the interception and fumbles, Ole Miss would have won by 10-15 points," he said. "It was tough to see. Ole Miss is only a few plays away from being 6-0 and they're a good football team."
After the game, in addition to talking with Austin, Hood talked with several of the players.
"I was impressed with the way they handled the loss," he said. "I mean, you don't want anyone to be happy about a loss, but they are not down on themselves and still believe they can win. I think coach (Houston) Nutt is the one who has them still believing. He's a great coach."
"I believe the trip to Ole Miss improved their standing with me," Hood said. "I was overall impressed and had a great time. It was one of the better trips that I've ever taken."
Hood plans to visit other schools before making a decision, but he did come away with one decision concerning Ole Miss.
He plans to return to the Oxford campus the day after Thanksgiving to attend the Ole Miss and Mississippi State game.
"I hear it's quite a rivalry," Hood said. "I love rivalries and I'm looking forward to seeing that game."
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