MOBILE, Ala. – For a defensive back flying under the radar, there may not be a better place to be this week than Mobile, Alabama. That is where Alabama and Mississippi high school seniors are squaring off in an inter-state all-star game that features two of the best wide receivers in the country in Julio Jones and DeAndre Brown. It also features one little-known defensive back, D'Antoine Hood.
Hood, out of Phoenix City (Ala.) Central Phoenix, has been making an early name for himself in practice this week covering Alabama's talented receiving corps. The undersized defensive back has shown great speed and hips and he has done it against the best in the nation.
"I'm real excited man," he said. "I love competition. I consider myself to be one of the best and I like to play against the best. Working out with Julio, he tests you. On the fly on the deep ball, he gets you ready."
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Hood is using practices this week to not only get himself ready for the next level but also to prove to college coaches what kind of player he is.
"They tell me how the speed of the game is going to change when you get to college and in these practices I've seen it," he said. "I'm kind of undersized. I'm just 5-9 or 5-9 and a half so I gotta come out here and prove to myself that I can cover these 6-3, 6-4 wide receivers and I can hold my own and stay on that island by myself. So I consider this a good test for me."
Hood has manned that cornerback island and manned it effectively. But despite playing against one of the top wide receivers in the nation in practice, things won't get much easier for him on game day as Mississippi's DeAndre Brown has also looked like one of the nation's best. Hood looks forward to the personal competition as well as the state pride that is at stake.
"It means a lot for the state because this is a rivalry," he said. "There's gonna be some hard hitting, some dirt and blood. This is gonna be a real good game. I'm expecting Mississippi to come out and spread it out and throw it. I'm also expecting our secondary to shut it down."
Though Hood has proven this week that his size does not limit him in coverage, it may be one reason why some schools have been slow to offer him. To date, he has one offer from Georgia Southern and has received interest from most of the Sun Belt conference as well as some bigger schools such as Clemson and Auburn. His play this week may help increase his offer list.
"I'm hoping that I can pick up some more offers and see what else is out there and just ball out and have fun."