By Garrett Shearman:
The broadcast started with a joke.
“Elijah told me he’s gonna play for the Florida Gators,” quipped Woodward Academy head coach John Hunt.
After no visible crowd reaction, the coach continued: “Well, I tried.”
It was then that four-star class of 2016 running back Elijah Holyfield was set to announce his college decision before an audience of applauding peers in the Woodward Academy gymnasium.
The son of former heavyweight champion boxer Evander Holyfield kicked off the ceremony by thanking his teammates, coaches, friends, and family for their support in the decision-making process. The young standout then rose to his feet and cleared his throat.
“Before I announce, I need two of my friends.”
Holyfield walked to the gym entrance, swung the doors open, and returned in front of the camera walking two white English Bulldog puppies, each on a red leash. For anyone who hadn’t connected the dots by this point, the star tailback made it obvious:
“I am committed to the University of Georgia.”
The fifth best 2016 running back prospect according to 247Sports, Holyfield turned down offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State, and Michigan.
In Holyfield, Georgia gets a power runner who’s hard to tackle and who possesses excellent breakaway speed. Though he’s not the tallest back, at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, the Woodward Academy star is built like a truck. Fully capable of running through defenders and bouncing off of would-be tacklers, Holyfield is the type of tailback the Dawgs love to utilize. His mix of strength and speed make him a highly-touted recruit for dozens of national programs.
Holyfield cited “in-state pride” and the Bulldogs’ coaching staff in being the key factors in his decision to commit to UGA, adding “they’re the types of coaches I see myself playing for.” The decision brings the Dawgs to seventeen recruits in the class of 2016, in which Holyfield is one of seven four-star prospects.