Throughout the Winter Evaluation Period, Dax Hollifield's top three schools have regularly attempted to one up each other in an attempt to sway the 2018 four-star linebacker.
The gamesmanship began shortly after the Dead Period when North Carolina assistant coach Gunter Brewer was on hand for a Shelby (N.C.) High basketball game. In addition to being a three-time state champion linebacker for Shelby, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Hollifield is also a forward on the basketball team.
At a basketball game a week later, Hollifield noticed Virginia Tech coaches Bud Foster, Justin Fuente, and James Shibest in the crowd.
Last week, South Carolina joined in when assistant coaches Bobby Bentley and Coleman Hutzler attended a Shelby basketball game. Joining Bentley and Hutzler in the stands that day was Brewer. However -- like the previous week -- Brewer arrived a couple of hours prior to tip-off.
"He's been coming to our pregame meals [for basketball] and eating," Hollifield said. "It's been pretty crazy. I've never heard of a coach doing that. I like it a lot. He comes to see me, but he went to college with my dad, [who serves as Shelby's head basketball coach and assistant football coach], so [Brewer] likes talking to him.
"It shows that [Brewer] cares a lot. That's the first school to do all that."
Hollifield hasn't officially eliminated any school from consideration. But, UNC, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech have indisputably emerged as his top three.
"They've always told me that I'm one of their No. 1 recruits -- South Carolina, Virginia Tech and UNC have all told me that," Hollifield said. "I know that they're the three that want me the most -- more than anybody."
One can ask Hollifield who he's leaning towards on three different days and receive three different answers.
"It depends," Hollifield said. "It changes week to week. Really, they're all even to me."
This off-season, Hollifield plans to visit the aforementioned trio for junior days. Already, he has knocked out Virginia Tech; he attended its junior day two weekends back. This weekend, he'll visit South Carolina for a junior day. Lastly, he has already saved the date for UNC's March junior day.
"I just want to see how they treat me [and] how they care about me," Hollifield said. "I want to see how good their relationship is with me."
Hollifield isn't in a rush to make a verbal commitment. But, he has begun to think about a time frame.
"I want to wait as long as I can," Hollifield said. "I'm going to take all my official visits -- that's what I'm going to do. And then I'll probably commit sometime during football season."
The most important aspect to Hollifield: student life.
"I want to know how I'm going to live everyday for the next three or four years," Hollifield said.