By Tim Whelan Jr., USA TODAY High School Sports | November 3, 2017 9:27 pm ET
Shelby (N.C.) inside linebacker Dax Hollifield received his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey at his school Friday as part of the Army All-American Selection Tour Presented by American Family Insurance.
“It’s incredible. I’ve had dreams of playing major Division 1 football, and to be part of this elite group,” Hollifield said. “It’s a dream as a football player in high school, and it’s pretty crazy that I’m actually a part of it. It shows you hard work and dedication can pay off.”
Hollifield, a 6-2, 236-pound four-star, is ranked as the No. 5 recruit in North Carolina and the country’s No. 5 inside linebacker according to the 247 Sports Composite.
Hollifield is uncommitted, but has taken official visits to Florida State, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. He plans to take his final visit to Stanford in January, while also mentioning that Notre Dame has been making a push of late. He said he hopes to make his decision prior to National Signing Day.
As for players he looks up to and/or models his play after, Hollifield looked “just 30 minutes down the road” to Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly. He also sees Jaylon Smith of the Cowboys and Virginia Tech senior Andrew Motuapuaka as football role models.
Hollifield started playing football in third grade, and he has been a part of three straight state champion teams at Shelby. The 9-1 Golden Lions are shooting for their fifth straight state title as a program, and Hollifield is a major reason.
“It’s about half of my life right now that I’ve been playing football, and I love it,” he said. “It’s a grind, but I love it. The bond us teammates have, as brothers, we’ll never forget what we’ve experienced. I love everything about it. And I love hitting people, so that helps.”
Hollifield’s talents extend outside the gridiron. He says that his first love is basketball, where he suits up for his dad, Shelby coach Aubrey Hollifield.
“I feel like it helped make me a great football player,” Dax Hollifield said. “I feel in love with that sport, but football is my life right now.”
The U.S. Army All American Bowl presented by American Family Insurance is scheduled for Jan. 6 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.