How bad does UGA want Elijah Holyfield?

Elijah Holyfield (AJC/Michael Carvell)

Elijah Holyfield (AJC/Michael Carvell)

How bad does UGA want Elijah Holyfield?

The 4-star tailback from Woodward Academy told the AJC that UGA coaches have informed him that he is the No. 1 target at running back for this year’s recruiting class.

“They told me that I’m the back they want in the class of 2016,” Holyfield said. “I don’t really ask where I rank on their board or anything, but if (running backs coach Thomas Brown) wants me, then he wants me and if he doesn’t, then he doesn’t.”

UGA coaches aren’t being shy with their feelings, though. Holyfield is their guy, according to the son of boxing legend Evander Holyfield. That’s quite the turnaround from where the two parties stood a couple of months ago.

After changing running backs coaches in February, UGA lost communication with the state’s No. 17 overall prospect. Despite that, Holyfield doesn’t hold grudges.

“I don’t really hold hard feelings toward them,” he said. “Like I said, if you like me, then you like me. If you don’t like me, then you don’t. So, I don’t hold any hard feelings toward Georgia.”

In fact, things are going so well that Holyfield has taken multiple unofficial visits to UGA since late May. The two sides communicate nearly every day.

“He (Brown) and I go back and forth on Twitter all the time,” Holyfield said. “We just talk about my plans for the week and what I’m up to. It’s not always about football.”

Here are five things you need to know about Holyfield:

1) Top schools list coming: “More than likely, I’m going to release it at “The Opening” all-star camp at Nike headquarters in Oregon this week. So who will be on that list? “Auburn will be there. Alabama will be there. Georgia, more than likely will be on there. Tennessee will be on there. I’m also putting some schools that I haven’t gotten the chance to see but I’m still interested in.” Holyfield didn’t say how many total colleges will make the cut.

2) Next UGA visit: He’ll be at Dawg Night prospect camp on July 18. What’s he looking forward to? “Just proving that I’m the best back in the state … More than anything, it’s a statement.”

3) Building relationships: After a long break with his recruitment, Holyfield has recently taken a few unofficial visits to UGA. Why? “Just looking to build relationships with the coaches. Like you said, they weren’t recruiting me for that time, so I didn’t get to build any relationships with some of the new coaches they got. Once they made it clear that I was getting a fair chance, I wanted to see the (coaches) multiple times and see different aspects of the school.”

4) Auburn rumors: Holyfield is considered a strong Auburn lean by recruiting analysts, but has always shied away from naming a leader. Would he say that the Tigers are No. 1 on his list? “I wouldn’t say that. I’m going to look at everything soon, but I wouldn’t say anyone is leading right now.”

5) Headed west: Holyfield is headed to The Opening on Tuesday. He wants to room with huge UGA targets. “I would probably want to room with Mecole (Hardman Jr.), Kyle (Davis) or Julian (Rochester), just someone that I know.” Will he wear any team-specific gear? “I just might. We will see.”

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisK_AJC to stay up to date with the latest in recruiting. 

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