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May 30, 2013

Five-Star Challenge: Top match-up No. 9

MORE: Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge

Rivals.com is counting down the top 10 match-ups we can't wait to watch at the second annual Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour heading into the event at Soldier Field in Chicago.

RB Elijah Hood, Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic
LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, Montgomery (Ala.) Carver


Why Hood has an edge: Just a few months ago there might have been a scenario where these two were competing against each other in position drills as linebackers, but now Hood has established himself as one of the best running backs in the country. They'll be matched up in passing situations in Chicago, but an ideal scenario would be the two big, physical athletes meeting in the hole on a Friday night. While we're likely to have to wait until the next level to see that match-up, Hood's ability to get off the line and make cuts in the open field should give him the edge here.
-- Woody Wommack, Southeast recruiting analyst


Why Hamilton has an edge: Hamilton is a very good in the short area against the pass, but he can flip his hips on deep routes, as shown at the RCS Birmingham. Against Hood, Hamilton can use his physical style of play to slow down the five-star back when he tries to release into his pattern. Hamilton is probably the shortest of the linebackers in attendance, but he makes up for his lack of height with superior closing speed and aggressiveness from the second level. His stocky frame should match up with Hood as both players are tough at the point of attack.
-- Kynon Codrington, Southeast recruiting analyst


Overall edge: Both players have similar builds and are equally powerful, but speed is what makes the difference in camp match-ups between running backs and linebackers. Hamilton was very impressive in coverage at the RCS Birmingham, and showed quick-twitch ability despite his thick frame and 241 pounds. However, running backs have the advantage in space at these camps and Hood has terrific cutting ability that could give Hamilton and others fits. He gets the slight nod here.
-- Mike Farrell, National recruiting analyst

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