2016 Four-Star RB Elijah Holyfield is the Real Deal

By Jeremy Birmingham on September 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm
Elijah Holyfield on his first Buckeye visit

Sometimes the pressure to live up to your family name weighs you down. Other times, the expectations that come from success, especially athletically, can push children far away from the fields of competition.

That's not the case for 2016 Woodward Academy (Atlanta, Georgia) running back Elijah Holyfield. Yes, his father's success has given him an edge in handling the media and the pressures of stardom. However, it's not his former-Olympian-former-heavyweight-world-champion father that keeps him the most focused and on track athletically: it's his real estate agent mother.

"(His father's success) has helped a lot," Holyfield said of his upbringing. "He's always just told me to stay humble and work hard, always keep working. He is actually pretty laid back, my mom is more the one who pushes me the most." 

Holyfield doesn't mind the push, he thrives on it. Whatever the motivator, the proof of its success can be seen all over box scores this fall. In five games, Holyfield has amassed over 1000 total yards of offense and 17 touchdowns. It's not just the productivity that makes him a national recruit, the nation's 16th-ranked tailback, a widely-offered prospect. It's not the bloodlines, either. It's Holyfield's own work-ethic. Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan State and a dozen-plus others don't extend scholarship offers "just because."

"I'm a hard worker, and I think people view me as a leader and a great teammate," the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder said, explaining his burgeoning national interest. "I'm a feature back, I can play every down, and I think I can change a game on the field."

This past weekend, Holyfield made his second unofficial visit to Ohio State — he camped with the Buckeyes during Friday Night Lights in July — and came away very impressed by what he saw. The biggest difference between a late Summer camp and a night game in late September should be obvious.

"The fans, the atmosphere was crazy," he said. "The visit was great, I really enjoyed myself. I had some questions earlier in the year about their running game so seeing it be so effective was great."

After working closely with the Buckeyes' coaching staff in July, especially running backs coach Stan Drayton, Holyfield was happy to see them work again up close. The game atmosphere helped solidify what he already knew about them.

"Their entire coaching staff was ready, they were focused," he said of the Ohio State leaders. "It seemed like there was no way they'd lose that game."

That intensity is par for the course from what Holyfield has seen out of Ohio State and their coaching staff.

"I feel their (intensity) is what brings the best out of you," Holyfield continued. "It pushes you to be your best. I really like (Stan) Drayton and Ohio State is always good. It's everything you could want as a school and a football program."

Holyfield's ability to travel relatively easily has given him a bit of an advantage when it comes to seeing the schools he's interested in. He says he's got a few more he'd really like to check out this fall and that a decision isn't coming anytime soon.

"I'd like to see a few more places," he added. "I'd like to visit Michigan State and Auburn. I've been to a Georgia game and I'm going to Tennessee this weekend. I won't be making a decision anytime this year, for sure. It'll probably be sometime next summer or in my senior season."

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