North Carolina added a key piece to its 2018 recruiting puzzle earlier this month when 4-star linebacker Payton Wilson committed to the Tar Heels. Now, UNC’s coaches are looking to put the cherry on top with another in-state 4-star linebacker — Dax Hollifield of Shelby.
Hollifield stands as one of UNC’s top uncommitted prospects in the 2018 class.
With Andre Smith heading into his junior season, the Tar Heels need an impact middle linebacker. With Hollifield and Wilson on board, UNC would have a stout linebacker corps for the future. The addition of Hollifield would also make the statement that North Carolina is the go-to destination for top in-state prospects.
Hollifield has been a regular in Chapel Hill the past couple years. Firmly on UNC’s radar by the spring of his freshman year, he took part in a junior day in Chapel Hill in the spring of 2015. He’s been back numerous times, including this winter for another junior day, as well as for the UNC-Duke basketball game in the Smith Center.
Hollifield is the No. 4 inside linebacker prospect nationally, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He’s also the No. 4 prospect in the state of North Carolina. Hollifield has put up outstanding numbers in recent seasons, including a whopping 204 combined tackles in his sophomore season of 2015. He came back as a junior last fall and recorded 146 combined tackles.
Hollifield recently announced that he’s been selected to play in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. With his aggressiveness and instincts, the 6-1, 220-pounder is an ideal linebacker prospect. Opposing blockers have to measure up to Hollifield’s relentless motor.
UNC has substantial competition for Hollifield’s services. Other suitors include Florida State, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Stanford, Alabama and Notre Dame. The Hokies might be the toughest competition.
Unlike Wilson, Hollifield isn’t planning on graduating early. That means the Tar Heels, as well as the other schools recruiting him, will have to run a marathon recruitment, possibly lasting into the winter months.