Evander Holyfield, the five-time world heavyweight champion, just smiled when asked about his new title: Father of one of Georgia’s top football prospects for next year.
Elijah Holyfield is a 4-star running back from Woodward Academy high school who has nearly 30 early scholarship offers.
Boxing and football are two different sports, but the celebrity father and son have a lot in common with their approach to them.
“Elijah is in good shape,” Evander told the AJC. “He’s one of those kids that does the proper things. He loves working hard. When I was a kid, I loved working hard. He’s the same way. He pushes himself to do whatever’s necessary to be the best he can be.”
The younger Holyfield stands around 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds and is known for (no surprise) his bruising style of play. He loves making contact with defenders, and seems to get stronger as the game goes along.
“He’s good at running back,” said his father, who played cornerback as a kid. “He made up his mind to be a running back because he used to play linebacker, too. He likes to hit. He’s physical. And he has the speed to be a good back.”
Elijah has around 30 scholarship offers, with one of his most recent being from UGA. The elder Holyfield has attended Bulldog games over the years, and you know he’s there because there’s usually a few TV shots of him in a jersey on the sidelines.
“I was happy about that offer because I’m a Georgia fan,” Evander said. “And then I found out that he liked Georgia, so that offer was a good thing.”
What made the boxing champion a fan of UGA? “Going to the Boys Club while growing up, they took us to go see Georgia play,” he said. “And Georgia is just a good team.”
Evander said his son’s not close to making his college decision, and that he’s trying to preach patience.
“I’ve realized that the most important thing is that he has got to find a team where he’s going to play,” Evander said. “Sometimes with the top teams, you don’t know what direction they’re going to go in. Anything can happen to change a situation. The coaches change and the players come and go … We’ve got to take our time to find the best situation for him.”
Note: Evander told The New York Times last month that he hoped Georgia Tech was an option, too. Elijah has been offered by Georgia Tech since that article was published.
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