Notre Dame Football: Sinclair Interviews #1 ILB In The Nation – Dax Hollifield

Nov 5, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense tackles Navy Midshipmen quarterback Will Worth (15) in the second half at Everbank Field. Navy Midshipmen won 28-27. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense tackles Navy Midshipmen quarterback Will Worth (15) in the second half at Everbank Field. Navy Midshipmen won 28-27. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /

Dax Hollifield is blowing up on the recruiting scene.

I caught up with the #1 ILB in the country today to talk about Notre Dame and all things football.

Hollifield has watched his stock skyrocket lately. Here’s what he had to say about recent scholarship offers and the attention that comes along with it.

“This past week has been crazy. I’m getting a ton of calls….Last week, I got an offer from LSU. Since then, I’ve gotten offers from Alabama, Florida State, Stanford, Notre Dame and Penn State. It’s been insane. I’ve had almost 100 people call and text me this past week. It’s been insane.”

I asked Hollifield what he thinks of Notre Dame in general. Here’s what he had to say about the Irish.

“Notre Dame is as big as Alabama, Ohio State and USC. They’re right there at the top of the top of college football. I watched Rudy when I was growing up, so I mean, it’s pretty historic to me.”

I asked Hollifield about getting the offer from Notre Dame and what it meant to him. Here’s what he said.

“Coach Lea called me, told me I had an offer. He had called me the week before and said that I could expect an offer.”

“I’ve always wanted that offer ever since I went down there last year. It was always one of my favorite places to look into. I’m definitely going to look into seeing if I want to go to school there.”

Hollifield visited Notre Dame last year for the unfortunate loss to the Midshipmen. Here’s what he had to say about that.

“I really liked it last winter when I went down there….It was a great atmosphere. All the fans. You’re always going to play in front of 80,000 fans. A packed house.”

The 6’2, 220 pound tackling-machine explained to me that his father also really enjoyed the visit to Notre Dame.

“My dad, when we went to the game, that was his favorite recruiting trip we’ve ever been on, and we’ve been probably more places than anybody in the country, I swear. We go somewhere every week in the fall and we try to go somewhere every other week during the spring. Out of all the places, (Notre Dame) has been his favorite place. I’m trying to get back up there.”

Although it’s early in the recruiting process, I asked Dax if he is seriously considering Notre Dame and if so, why? He responded:

“Yes. I love their coaches. I love Coach Lea. My Dad played at Wake Forest. Lea was previously coaching there….They’re (Lea and Elko) great coaches. They fielded one of the best defenses in the country. I think they’re gonna do great things at Notre Dame.”

Hollifield went on more about how impressed he was with Elko and Lea’s defense at Wake Forest.

“They hung in there for the first three quarters against Louisville until Lamar Jackson went off. They also hung in there the whole game against Florida State.”

“I think they’re very sharp. I think Coach Elko is a very smart man. He knows what he’s doing. I like coach Lea. He’s a young guy but he seems like he’s been around the game for a while. I think both of them will be big time names before the end of their coaching careers.”

Considering Hollifield’s growing list of offers, I asked him if he has plans to narrow it down at some point. Here’s what he said:

“Before this week, I had narrowed it down to UNC, VT, and South Carolina. I had a few other offers that were big time, I just didn’t see myself playing there. But this past week, people have checked out my highlight film and they have seen a big improvement from my sophomore to my junior year.”

“Now more people think I can play at their school, so, I’m going to re-evaluate my stuff and try to make a list of my top 5 that I’m going to take official visits to.”

One thing that really stood out to me during my conversation with Hollifield was how humble he was regarding aspects of his game that he felt needed improvement. Here’s a few things he told me that he has turned his focus on.

“I like blowing people up, but I’ve figured out that if you try to hit people as hard as you can, a lot of times, you’re going to miss. If I can blow ’em up, I’m gonna blow ’em up. If they’re out in space, I’m just going to try to get them to the ground. I don’t like missing tackles.”

“In my sophomore year, I tried blowing a lot of people up and I missed by trying to kill ’em. This year, I worked on breaking down a lot and focused on making a tackle instead of making a huge play. A play is a play. If you tackle ’em for a ten yard loss, it’s a ten yard loss.” 

“I’m not a crazy athlete. My mind has to be 100% every time or I’m going to get burned. People play a guy like Alan Tisdale and he can take a false step and still catch up because they’re so fast and so long. I cannot make those mistakes.”

This type of attitude can lead a young man with talent to great success at the college level.

Having the ability to key in on your weaknesses and having the mindset to improve on them is a valuable trait for a recruit.

Notre Dame had also offered scholarships to 2 other linebackers from North Carolina this week. Hollyfield spoke about them.

“Alan Tisdale and Payton WIlson got offers (from ND) too. That is two athletic freaks right there. Freaks of nature. They’re both about 6’4 and run like gazelles.”

“Alan (Tisdale), I met him at the Rivals camp last year. We talked a lot since. For his size and speed, he can turn his hips awesome. He can cover backs. He can break down and follow them everywhere they go, so, he’s great. I think wherever he goes, he’ll have great success.”

With two linebackers all ready committed from the ’18 class, spots are filling up for a small Notre Dame recruiting class.

The Irish would love to add Dax Hollifield to their class to help bolster the future of the middle of their defense.

Must Read: Slap The Sign Interviews 4 Star OLB/Safety Recruit Alan Tisdale

Stay tuned to (@SlapTheSign) for more recruiting news.