Elijah Holyfield is rapidly becoming one of the most heavily recruited 2016 tailbacks in the south, and Michigan did its part to aid his momentum when it added its name to his offer list Wednesday after his outstanding camp showing in Ann Arbor. His performance in essence answered any questions the Wolverines’ brass had about his skillset after an abbreviated sophomore campaign.
“I only played in seven games,” Holyfield said. “Unfortunately, I fractured my foot. I had a stress fracture, so I only played in a couple of games and then I played some games hurt. I didn’t have the year that I want. I had a real good quarterback too, he ran the ball a lot. I could have had a better year. Honestly, it was okay.”
That high performance standard is one that he probably inherited at birth. His dad, former heavyweight boxing champion Evander “Real Deal “ Holyfield, was smaller than many of the fighters he squared off against, bit his combination of skill, conditioning, and flat out determination allowed him to get the better of most of them. Living up to expectations that come with being the son of such a renowned athlete might be seen as pressure, by some prospects but not for young Holyfield.
“It gives me a little edge because I work a little harder than most people because I want to get better,” he said.
Michigan certainly saw evidence of that tireless work ethic when the chiseled 6-0, 195-pounder hit the field and displayed better-than-advertised speed.
“I knew they liked me, but I wasn’t sure if they were going to offer or not,” stated Holyfield. “I kind of had an idea of it, but I wasn’t for sure yet.”
That uncertainty lessened with every rep. After officially receiving his offer the three-star running back was given the full visit-treatment and came away extremely impressed.
“Oh man it is real nice,” Holyfield said. “All the coaches were nice. I like Coach Jack a lot. I got to talk to Coach Hoke and everything. He was real nice. All the facilities were nice. I got to see all the academic and all that stuff. Everything went nice. I really liked them.”
Michigan is now part of a decorated list of suitors that also includes Ohio State, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech among others. While it’s clear that Holyfield’s view of the Wolverines was positively impacted by his time in Ann Arbor, he is not ready to proclaim them his favorite
“No schools are (on top) right now,” he said adamantly. “All schools are a little bit different, but everything has their good sides and bad sides. I really want to see everything for myself.”
The Peach State star plans to take his time evaluating as many suitors as possible before narrowing his list. The weeding-out process will be largely based on a few key components.
“A coaching staff that I feel comfortable, a place that I feel comfortable with and I want to play every Saturday,” Holyfield said explaining his criteria. “A place that is going to give me the ball and where I fit in their offense well. That’s the main thing. The place where I have the highest chance to make it to the next level.”
“I’ll probably be one of those guys that waits a little while (to make a decision).”