By: Dustin Smith
There are few coaches, at any level in any sport, that have the kind of consistency and grit that former Virginia Tech Defensive coach Bud Foster had. Though retiring at the end of the 2019 season, Virginia Tech LB Dax Hollifield had the opportunity to be a part of two Bud Foster defensive seasons- and the improvements have shown.
Hollifield joined Foster and the Hokies as a 4-star recruit and part of the 2018 recruiting class. As a Junior during the 2020 COVID-shortened season, Hollifield has done what all other athletes set out to do at the beginning of the season: Make the most of it. Players, coaches, media, and fans alike were unsure- and still are to this day- what each day will bring in the world of sports. Cancellations, postponements, and even fines for coaches for not properly wearing masks on the sideline are all the new norms for the 2020 sports seasons. As we search for some normalcy among the chaos, we continue to look at the future NFL Drafts and what players will eventually hear their names called.
Hollifield is a 6’1 235 lb Junior originally from Shelby, North Carolina. While neither his size nor speed, a 4.7 40-yard dash, are “eye-popping,” Hollifield’s growth at the Linebacker position, experience, and physicality with which he plays the position make him a suitable draft prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Hollifield played in 13 games each of his first two years in Blacksburg, including starting all 13 games as a Sophomore. Hollifield racked up 62 and 67 tackles in his first two seasons, respectively. Hollifield also showed some ability in coverage as he racked up 3 Interceptions during his Sophomore season. While Hollifield has started just 4 of the 8 games this season, his highlight performance came on November 14th vs then-No. 9 Miami Hurricanes. Hollifield totaled 13 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 Sack in a heartbreaking 25-24 loss to the Hurricanes.
While it is impossible to replace a defensive mind like Bud Foster, it will be exciting to see Dax Hollifield’s continued growth at the end of the 2020 season and during the 2021 season as he prepares for the 2022 NFL Draft. At this moment Hollifield would be a great Day 3 selection to add depth and eager, young, talent to an NFL Linebacker group.