UNC standout running back Elijah Hood won’t play in the Tar Heels’ Sun Bowl matchup against Stanford, which also will be without its star back.
Anyone hoping to see Elijah Hood and Christian McCaffrey trade touchdown runs in the Sun Bowl will be plenty disappointed.
UNC announced Thursday that Hood will sit out the Dec. 30 contest vs. Stanford in El Paso, Texas, because of “medical reasons.” The announcement comes three days after McCaffrey posted on Twitter that he would not suit up for the Cardinal to begin preparation for the NFL draft.
Hood has not decided publicly if he will enter the draft or return to North Carolina for his senior season, leaving it unclear whether him sitting out the Sun Bowl is related. McCaffrey, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Baylor’s Shock Linwood are other standout backs sitting out their team’s bowl games to avoid risking injury prior to the draft.
Hood has rushed for 858 yards and eight touchdowns while catching 25 passes for 142 yards out of the backfield. He missed the Tar Heels’ 34-3 loss to Virginia Tech on Oct. 8 and played through various nagging injuries all season. He came nowhere close to last year’s numbers, when he ran for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns.
With Hood out, the Sun Bowls loses even more of its appeal following McCaffrey’s announcement. McCaffrey led the nation with 2,327 all-purpose yards despite missing one game earlier this season for the 9-3 Cardinal. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting as a sophomore last year while breaking Barry Sanders’ single-season all-purpose yardage mark, but he had over 1,200 fewer all-purpose yards this season.