RALEIGH, N.C. --- Following Shelby High's state championship win on Saturday, four-star 2018 linebacker Dax Hollifield was eager to clarify his quotes from a recent article and his feelings towards North Carolina.
"I really didn't say I was unhappy about Jayden's [Borders] recruitment," Hollifield said. "I said, 'I wish [UNC] would offer my friend Jayden.' It was just a misunderstanding.
"I love [UNC]. They've been recruiting me longer than everybody. They're not fake. I didn't mean to come off as I hated them -- I love them, still. That article made me sound like I hated them; that's not how I feel about them. They're still in my top three. I love them."
South Carolina and Virginia Tech round out the rest of Hollifield's top three.
"Those are by far the people who are recruiting me the hardest," Hollifield said.
Another misconception regarding Hollifield's recruitment is that Virginia Tech has a clear cut lead on the field. He said that's incorrect.
"It changes all the time," Hollifield said. "One day Virginia Tech might be my favorite, but the next morning Carolina might be my favorite. And then the day after that South Carolina might be my favorite."
Hollifield, who doesn't plan on making a verbal commitment for another year, says his focus is attending upcoming junior days. In addition to his top three, Alabama is the only school that's guaranteed a visit in the coming months.
In Saturday's NCHSAA 2AA Championship, Hollifield set the tone early. On Jacksonville (N.C.) Northside's first offensive play, he hit running back Dwayne Washington behind the line-of-scrimmage jarring the ball loose. For good measure, Hollifield recovered the fumble. He ended the game with 16 total tackles and 3.5 TFLs. The performance earned him the Western Champion Most Outstanding Defensive Player award. More importantly, it helped Shelby win its fourth consecutive state championship; Hollifield has been a starting linebacker for three of those teams.
"You can never get tired of winning," Hollifield said. "Winning is the best feeling in the world."
Hollifield has his sights set on continuing that winning by ending his senior season with another title.
"It will be my senior year and I'm not going out with anything less than [a championship]," Hollifield said. "I plan on going 16-0, too. I want to leave my legacy as well as [the seniors] have. I want our class to be considered one of the greatest of all-time, too."