Name: Caleb Hood
Fall Sport: Football
Years on Varsity: 1 year
Playing Experience: 10 years (began playing youth football at the age of five)
Height & Weight: 5’10”/175 lbs.
Favorite Subject: As a freshman who is slowly taking in life as a high school student at Richmond County’s Ninth Grade Academy, Hood expressed his passion for math. He credits Mrs. Clemmons, his Math I teacher, as being a great mentor in helping him be a success in the classroom.
RSHS Sports: Hood plans to try out for RSHS’ boys basketball team once the football season ends. He was a member of Rockingham Middle School’s basketball team as a seventh and eighth grader. Last season, as a small forward, he led the Rockets to the championship game against Sandy Grove Middle School.
RSHS Extracurricular Activities: Because being the varsity team’s quarterback preoccupies much of Hood’s spare time, he hasn’t gotten involved in many school clubs or functions to this point in the school year. However, he plans to get more involved as he becomes more acclimated with his role on the football team.
Hobbies: Hood, who is naturally a quiet individual, expressed his desire to always wanting to get better as a football player, so he enjoys watching game film and trying to better himself as a player and a leader.
When he’s not on the field Friday nights, he helps his father, Errol Hood, with the Richmond Raiders Youth Football Association. Hood helps in practices and gives instruction to the players.
In his free time, Hood enjoys hanging out with friends and playing video games (which he admits losing to a lot to his younger brother Kellan). Hood can be found watching Clemson University game film, too, as he was a big Deshaun Watson fan when he played there. Hood says analyzing the film helps make him a better high school quarterback.
High School Aspirations: Having always been an A-B honor student, Hood is excited about his academic journey through Richmond. His top aspiration is to maintain good grades, expressing that he wants to earn all A’s. Another goal that he has is to hopefully join the National Beta Club, which is an organization that most of the featured Student Athletes of the Week are members of.
Interesting Fact: Hood, who grew up in the Chapel Hill area, has always had family ties to Richmond County. His father, Errol, was adopted by Raiders coaching legend Paul Hoggard. Hood grew up on the sidelines of Raiders games, serving as a ball boy starting in third grade. It was this “job” that initiated his love and passion for the game, and he’s glad to have been able to spend so much time in and around the Richmond football program.
Player of the Week Stats: Through his first five games as the starting quarterback, Hood has led the Raiders to a 3-2 start. He’s faced some tough non-conference opponents, but has accepted the challenge in getting better with each down, and poses as a dual-threat to opposing defenses.
In Friday’s 56-34 blowout win against Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Purnell Swett High School, Hood put up some of his best numbers to date. He went 14-of-20 passing with a season-high 223 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, he gained 31 yards on eight attempts, and found the end zone twice.
On the season, Hood has amassed 669 passing yards on 48-of-73 passing (57.8 completion percentage), and has connected for six touchdown passes. Running the ball, Hood has gone for 128 yards on 41 attempts (3.12 yards per carry) and three rushing scores.
What’s it like being the freshman quarterback for the Richmond Raiders? How do you handle the responsibility?
“Being the starting varsity quarterback as a freshman is an honor,” Hood said. “I don’t feel any pressure because there are so many people who believe in me and my (football) ability. It’s my responsibility to help run the offense, and I am getting better at that with great coaching.
“It’s so cool to me that putting on a Richmond jersey now means something,” Hood added. “I’ve waited so long for this opportunity, and now I get to lead by example on the field.”
Discuss Friday’s home win. What was special about it, and what is working well for you right now?
“Getting my first home win was great,” Hood said. “We had a lot of crowd support behind us all night. I’m getting more comfortable at understanding the defense and coverage before the ball gets snapped.
“I want to continue to get better,” Hood said. “My goal is to lead the Raiders to four state championships,” he added with a smile.
In his first season as the varsity head coach, Bryan Till is fully invested in the program’s current and future successes, all of which start with Hood’s progression and performance. He nominated Hood as the Richmond Observer’s male student athlete of the week for lots of reasons, but none more than his decision making during Friday’s SAC opener against Purnell Swett.
“It’s surprising when you hear Caleb talk,” Till said. “He’s a pretty quiet kid. But when he plays, he’s very detail-oriented on the field. He studies film with coach (Jay) Jones, and is always trying to get better.
“Because he’s a freshman, the question is whether or not he’s earned the right to play,” Till added. “He’s definitely talented enough, and he’s earned the respect of senior players in the locker room through the way he plays and the way he goes about his business.
“I named Caleb the male student athlete of the week because of his decision-making Friday,” Till said. “He’s had some good statistical games, but he made some critical decisions at the right moments on third-and-long situations. His decision-making as a freshman was incredible.”
Look for Hood on the Richmond Observer’s flagship news program Live at 5, as he’ll be in studio for Wednesday’s edition.