ATHENS — Georgia football fan-favorite Elijah Holyfield just wants to hear his named called in the NFL draft and play football.
The departing Georgia tailback breathed a sigh of relief after his performance in the so-called “House of Payne” UGA indoor football facility, the combine-like pro day workout finally behind him.
“I’m a guy who likes to play football, not all the other stuff,” said Holyfield, who was born in College Park. “You don’t play football in a combine, you play football on the field.”
The combine is, however, part of the evaluation process. Holyfield’s prospects as an NFL tailback were more closely scrutinized after he ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis on March 1.
Holyfield re-tested on Wednesday, running anywhere between a 4.76 and 4.89, according to media and scouts in attendance.
“I try not to worry about it, I have confidence in myself, I can play football,” Holyfield said. “I might not run the fastest 40 in the world, but I can play football better than a lot of people.”
Holyfield said he contemplated returning for his senior season, but he had reasonable concerns about the injury risk and the likelihood he could repeat and surpass the 1,000-yard rushing season he enjoyed in 2018.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart have high praise to Holyfield on Wednesday.
“Elijah is going to be a great pro, Elijah brings a lot to a team, he brings a toughness, he brings a demeanor about him, he loves to work,” Smart said. “He was the last guy off the field every day here, catching extra balls. He’s done a tremendous job in our program, he’s going to do the same thing in that organization.
“The stripes of a player don’t change when they go to the next level, so I know he’s going to convert what he’s done well here into the same thing there.”
Holyfield said he has an interview with the Houston Texans on Thursday, and next week he will fly to New Orleans to meet with the Saints before returning to Atlanta to meet with Philadelphia on March 29.