Evander Holyfield’s Son Elijah Reportedly Signs with Panthers as UDFA

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Evander Holyfield’s Son Elijah Reportedly Signs with Panthers as UDFA
Georgia running back Elijah Holyfield (13) warms up before the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between Georgia and Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

John Amis/Associated Press

Georgia Bulldogs running back Elijah Holyfield has reportedly found a home in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Panthers will sign Holyfield after he went undrafted. 

Holyfield, the son of legendary boxer Evander Holyfield, had an excellent junior season for Georgia, rushing 159 times for 1,018 yards (6.4 YPC) and seven touchdowns. He paired with D’Andre Swift (1,049 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns) to give the Bulldogs a scary one-two combination in the backfield. 

That put Holyfield on the map for NFL teams after he largely served as a backup for Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in his first two years, making him an intriguing prospect at this year’s draft. And Holyfield took advantage of having two future NFL players ahead of him on the depth chart early in his Georgia career.

“I learned how to practice, how to go through the offseason and how to get better,” he said in early February, per Andrew DiCecco of Eagles Wire. “They never peaked out—they always continued to get better every week.”

“It was a very humbling experience,” he added. “I think it taught me to keep working, no matter what. I knew my time would come eventually. I definitely think it’s helped me become a better football player, learning different things that I wouldn’t have learned had I went somewhere else.”

After two years of waiting, however, Holyfield took advantage of his time to shine, and after a solid junior season, he decided to turn pro.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller and Josh Norris of Rotoworld broke down what Holyfield brings to the table at the NFL level:

And having a former heavyweight champion as a father taught the younger Holyfield a thing or two about work ethic, too:

Carolina will be banking on that work ethic, combined with his athletic abilities and the production he showcased in 2018, leading to a long and successful career in the NFL.

Holyfield doesn’t move the needle like some of the higher-profile running backs taken, but he’s a solid player who has shown steady improvement and could make an impact at the next level. 

There’s little question he’ll work hard in an effort to do just that.

It will be an uphill climb for Holyfield to make the Panthers’ 53-man roster out of training camp. Running back is one position they have solid depth, led by Christian McCaffrey. They also drafted Jordan Scarlett out of Florida in the fifth round. 

The upside for Holyfield is he will go into camp with a team and an opportunity to make an impression. Even if he can’t break through with the Panthers, other clubs will be keeping an eye on his performance to see how his skill set might be able to help them heading into the 2019 season.

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