Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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36 AUGUST 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MIKE SINGER Notre Dame dipped into the state of Arizona to land a commitment from Phoenix Pinnacle class of 2023 offensive tackle Elijah Paige. The 6-6 1 ⁄2, 307-pounder — who is ranked as the No. 33 offensive tackle in the nation by On3 — picked up an offer from Notre Dame Feb. 25 during a phone call with head coach Marcus Freeman and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. The Fighting Irish staff kept in touch with Paige for the next couple months and made a move for him May 2 when Hiestand went to Phoenix to see Paige practice. The offensive line target set up an of- ficial visit with Notre Dame that day and made it to campus for the weekend of June 3-5. He was going to officially visit Michigan State the following weekend, USC June 17 and Washington June 24, but those trips were canceled because he already knew where he wanted to at- tend college. "I committed to Notre Dame for mul- tiple reasons," Paige told On3's Chad Simmons. "It has tradition. Everyone knows about the degree. You get to play at the highest level. It is on national television every week. "It's the perfect mix of both academ- ics and football for me. It's different at Notre Dame." Paige informed the Irish staff the day after returning home from his first South Bend trip that he would be com- mitting, and he announced his pledge June 10. "Going into the visit, Notre Dame was one of my top schools, but not on top. The visit really changed my mind," Paige added. "I talked about it a lot with my family; it is not a four-year decision, but a 40-year decision. And you get that with Notre Dame. "That Notre Dame degree is some- thing you cannot get from anywhere else, and that played a big role in the decision." When Paige was a freshman at Pinna- cle, Notre Dame rising junior offensive tackle Tosh Baker was a senior. They didn't know each other well at the time, but since Paige has replaced Baker as a stalwart on the Pinnacle line, they've become close. His former teammate hosted Paige for the official visit. "It was great," Paige said of the visit. "We got to check out the whole campus, and it's awesome. I saw pictures of it, but you can't get a real feel for it until you're there. It's a beautiful campus with a lot of history. The facilities were great. "Walking down those stairs and see- ing the Play Like A Champion Today sign, it's just crazy. You get chills with how historical it is." Paige was named to the Arizona In- te rsc h o l a s t i c A s - sociation 6A All- C o n fe re n c e f i rs t team for his efforts in 2021. The local NBC news affiliate in Phoenix listed him on its "All-Fever" first-team offensive line. He was also on the 2021 Desert Valley All-Region first- team offensive line. Tennessee, Michigan, Oregon, Stan- ford, Missouri, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Baylor, Miami, Auburn and Utah are among the other schools that have of- fered Paige. He helped paved the way for Pinnacle to rush for 1,040 yards (4.9 per carry) and 14 scores, plus pass for 2,754 yards (15.0 per completion) and 23 touch- downs, across 12 games during the 2021 season. He also plays for the Pinnacle basketball team. With a reported unweighted grade point average of 3.68 as of last fall, Paige was an honorable mention for the Sports360AZ All-Academic Football Teams (6A). ✦ FILM ANALYSIS "Elijah Paige has seen some growth and development over the past year. He's added good weight, getting up to over 6-foot-6 and north of 300 pounds. Paige looks to have solid length and should be able to stick at tackle at the next level in that regard. He plays with good technique and moves well functionally on Friday nights. "Paige is competitive and will mix it up as a run blocker. He also shows the framework to develop in pass protection. He tested as an average athlete in the combine setting prior to his junior season. Paige can continue improving his base and functional strength — that could be an area where we see some improvement over the course of his senior year given his physical growth." — On3 director of scouting and rankings Charles Power COMMITMENT PROFILE ELIJAH PAIGE Massive Arizona Offensive Tackle Finds His Fit At Notre Dame After taking an official visit to South Bend in early June, Paige — the nation's No. 33 offensive tackle according to On3 — knew where he wanted to attend college and canceled his remaining visits to Michigan State, USC and Washington. PHOTO BY CHAD SIMMONS/ON3.COM "It's the perfect mix of both academics and football for me. It's different at Notre Dame." PAIGE

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