INDIANAPOLIS — It worked for Georgia football backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, and Elijah Holyfield believes splitting carries will work to his benefit, too.
“It’s just more power to the way Georgia does things, with the running backs and splitting times,” Holyfield said on Thursday at the NFL combine podium session.
“It doesn’t really hinder you to split time with somebody. If you’re a good back and you want to come out fresh, and have a good long career, a school like Georgia is the place for you.”
Holyfield paid his dues as a backup behind future NFL starters Michel and Chubb in 2017 before his breakout campaign last season.
Holyfield rushed for 1,018 yards and 7 touchdowns on 159 carries in 2018. His sophomore season, Holyfield had just 50 carries for 293 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The fact that Holyfield got those carries as a sophomore made a difference. Holyfield indicated he doesn’t think the more liberal transfer rules will affect the running back position at UGA like it did the quarterbacks.
“Quarterback is a different position because you can’t really split time at quarterback like you can at running back or any other position,” Holyfield explained, “so that’s like a whole different ball game.”
It was clear Holyfield struggled with the decision on whether to turn pro or return for his senior season, dragging his decision out past the December early signing date.
“I had to look at how much could I improve at this time, or how much could I improve my stock going back to school, and I felt it would be better for me to go ahead and come out,” Holyfield said. “My teammates, I really didn’t want to leave them,
“ I didn’t want to leave Georgia on that note, I have a lot of good friends on the team, and that’s not the way I wanted to go. but I had to do what’s best for me and put everything else aside.”
The fact Holyfield hadn’t made his decision by the early signing day affected the Bulldogs’ ability to land another accomplished tailback in the 2019 class.
Coach Kirby Smart referenced how the early signing day isn’t “congruent” with the early entry deadline in January, and the bind it can put teams in when they are’t sure who is coming out.
Holyfield will be back on the UGA campus on March 20 for pro day. Holyfield put up 26 reps on the bench press on Thursday, the third most by any running back at the combine. He’s expected to run his 40-yard dash on Friday.
Holyfield spent some time training with global sprint star Christian Coleman, who also attended high school in Atlanta before his national championship track career at Tennessee.
Holyfield believes he can be a three-down back in the NFL, and he’s confident he can help as a pass catcher out of the backfield and on special teams.
Georgia football tailback Elijah Holyfield