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2019 NFL Draft Prospect Elijah Holyfield RB Georgia

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Tough, quick, fast and the real deal

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Georgia vs Texas Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Elijah Holyfield 5’ 11” 215 lbs RB Georgia

The first thing you think of when you hear Elijah Holyfield’s name is whether or not it is related to the 5 time World Champion boxer Evander Holyfield. Well, I guess you could say they are related because Envander is Elijah’s dad. It’s a weird situation as Evander and Tamie (Elijah’s mom) dated for many years and had two children, Elijah and his older sister (by three years) Eden. Just after Elijah was born Evander and Tamie went separate ways; into almost different worlds. Tamie wanted to settle down and be a mom while Evander was flying around the world as a superstar boxer.

Tamie married a man named Chis Pettaway, and the two of them raised Elijah, Eden and their two stepbrothers, Chris, Jr. and Tashawn. They lived in Atlanta together for almost all of Elijah’s life while his father provided financial support and still stayed very involved in his son’s life.

Make no mistake. The person with the vast majority of influence in Elijah’s life was his mom. She is a strong woman who made Elijah make his bed before he went to school and kept him on the straight and narrow. There were chores and schoolwork that needed to be done. “There was no time for foolishness,” his mom said.

When the children would stay with their dad when he was in town there were maids and chefs and all kinds of people around. Elijah didn’t have to do anything. The kids didn’t spend a lot of time with their father as he was traveling the world, but it was nice when he was home for a while. Elijah explained the difference, “My mom, she’s the one always asking questions, ‘Are you hungry, are you doing this, are you doing that?’” he said. “My Dad, he’s more laid back. We’d go stay with him and whatever we needed, it was always there.”

The two families worked well together, and Tamie and Evander have a good relationship. Evander also has nine other children that he needs to spend time with so between his businesses and family, he is always on the go.

Sports always played a big role in Elijah’s life since he was about 3. He ran track, played basketball, took Taekwondo, took swimming lessons, and played football. It was the same with his sister and stepbrothers who are all now in their 20’s and all college graduates.

“When they got done with track practice or football practice or whatever, it was time to do homework, to have dinner, to say their prayers, to go to bed,” Tamie said. “They’ve always been on a dictated schedule like that. They never had time to think about just hanging out.”

Elijah tried boxing from age 8 thru 14 and was said to be very good at it, but he realized he had to choose between boxing and football. Football was where Elijah really shined as he was strong and fast and showed more natural ability than in boxing. When Elijah was a junior in high school he rushed for 1,735 yards and 25 TDs in 14 games. That cemented his future in the sport. When Evander heard about his career choice his reaction was, “I’m excited about it,” Evander said. “I realize, with generations, it’s one thing what you did, but how do you inspire your kids to take it to another level? Boxing was my thing but I love football. As my son will tell you, I love football more than boxing. At that time as a kid, I was small, and nobody would give me an opportunity. They gave him an opportunity, and he has shown he can do this.”

Elijah had to wait behind some very good backs at Georgia before he got his chance. Nick Chubb was a star with the Browns this year, and Sony Michel is a Super Bowl champion. It gave Elijah a chance to learn about being a great back from some pretty good role models. It also took wear and tear away from Elijah as Michel had 654 college touches, and Chubb had 789. Elijah has had only 222 college touches through three years and has plenty of tread left on the tires.

Here he shows some of his great skillset as he makes the ILB whiff in the hole with a incredible jump cut and then gets straight up field.

He shows real nice vision on the play as his head is up. He sees the charging ILB and avoids him without taking his eyes off the hole. This is why he can immediately accelerate through the opening quickly before the rest of the defenders can converge on him.

Here he again has a nice jump cut, head up to see the hole and read the back side blocks. This is a trait that is hard to teach and shows an innate ability to decipher the play.

This play also shows some of Elijah’s elusiveness as he is able to make defenders miss in the open field. He is not the most elusive RB in the draft, but he has a low center of gravity and good balance which makes him hard to bring down with arm tackles. He also has real nice size to be a feature back (20 -25 touches a game) to go along with his strength and, of course, his genetically given toughness.

I mentioned toughness, and here it is along with desire. This is just a 12 yard run, but half the Auburn team takes shots at Elijah before he goes down. The play is not that well-blocked at all but Elijah has the ability to “slither” through holes as well as power though them.

You should notice that with all these jump cuts and making people miss Elijah doesn’t immediately abandon the hole and swing wide outside like many speed backs do. Elijah is not afraid of contact and actually likes to put a whooping on defensive players. He has the ability to kick the run outside but tries to keep to where the play is blocked.

If you want to see him jump cut outside to prove he can do it, well here it is. He has only 215 college rushes in his career so he is just a baby in understanding all the nuances of being a complete running back. Here he shows really good speed to race almost around a DB in pursuit. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he does have above average giddy up.

One of the problems I see with Elijah when he runs outside is he doesn’t press the hole far enough at times. Here he does a good job, but on occasion when the hole is blocked he will immediately take a 45 degree angle outside instead of taking another step then making an almost 90 degree turn to the outside. When you press the hole farther, you draw up the safeties and LB, and it gives them less of an angle to catch you and make a tackle.

I said before how Elijah likes to put a hurting on defensive players. This what is called a statement run. No it doesn’t get a TD, but it fires up the offense and tells the defense, “We are coming after you and will exert our will on you.” This is also no Grambling State team. This is LSU, and those players are all good athletes.

You can see from the coaches’ view that Elijah reads the ILB who fills the “B” gap hole so Elijah sprints through the “A” gap and straight up field. He knew the defense was going to gang tackle him so he figured he would inflict a little punishment first. It’s a great mindset to have and shows the toughness and alpha dog mentality Elijah plays with.

I also mentioned desire as a trait Elijah possesses, and you can see here the determination and toughness he has, especially when he sees the goal line. You can see Elijah dance around the block in the backfield then accelerate though the hole only to get hit at the 4 yard line. The first guy bounces off but he is grabbed by multiple defenders who he drags into the end zone.

This is first of all a read option where the QB holds the ball way to long. He should have given it up sooner because the RT DE didn’t crash down on the play. By holding the ball too long he allowed too much penetration, but Elijah smartly avoids the traffic. He is then hit by multiple players, and he literally drags the safety (33) almost into the end zone from the three yard line. That is determination by a spirited RB.

This last play I will show you from a couple of angles because it shows the athletic ability of Elijah like I could never describe without this footage. It is a simple misdirection play with a read option component. The QB could keep the ball and follow his blocker, but he decides to give the rock to Elijah. Elijah does the rest.

Elijah does his best to avoid the first tackle attempt in the backfield and then show his speed to the end zone against a box safety who has an angle on him. The dive looks good but is really impressive when you see it from another angle.

You can see how much desire and body control it took to get that ball into the end zone. This is an all out effort with great athletic agility to accomplish. He runs full speed and takes off from the 4 12 yard line with a safety ready to hit hit. and he has no idea where or how hard he is going to get smacked. He is knocked off balance and going out of bounds as he contorts his body to get the ball in. He basically has only the ball and his hands inside the end zone while the rest of his body is out of bounds. Plus he is able to score before any part of his body hits out of bounds; great play and better desire.

Elijah Holyfield seems like a real good kid with plus talent as a RB. He is not a finished product and will need some coaching to make him an every down back. He only had 7 pass receptions in college, not because he is a bad receiver but because they rarely threw to him when he was in the game. He will also need extensive work as a pass protector if he wants to play in the NFL. I think he can do these things, but it definitely drops down his Draft grade. His lack of carries is more of a positive than a negative.

I currently have a late 3rd, early 4th round grade on Elijah, but that will be slightly altered by his Combine and pro day results. I know many of you like some of the other big name RB’s in the Draft. I am just giving you an option so we can improve our o-line while at the same time upgrading our RB situation.

As always I value your opinion so tell me what you think..

Poll

Where would you pick Elijah Holyfield?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    3rd round we need a good RB
    (118 votes)
  • 47%
    4th Round we have many needs
    (142 votes)
  • 10%
    5th round or later RB’s are a dime a dozen
    (32 votes)
  • 2%
    I have no interest in this player
    (8 votes)
300 votes total Vote Now