How it Happened: Elijah Paige Commits to Notre Dame

How it Happened: Elijah Paige Commits to Notre Dame

(Photo: 247Sports)

From the moment Notre Dame extended an offer, Paige was anxious to get out to South Bend. But at that time, due to his schedule with basketball season and more, he explained that he wouldn’t be able to take long-distance visits until June.

In May, the four-star recruit took two official visits out West – trips to UCLA in early May, and a stop at USC later that month.

Next, he had official visits set at Notre Dame from June 3-5, Michigan State from June 10-12, and Washington from June 24-26.

Following that trip, Irish Illustrated learned that a commitment to Notre Dame was imminent. There was also news that surfaced when Paige had contacted the coaching staffs at Michigan State and Washington, canceling his official visit plans.

Also visiting Notre Dame last weekend was three-star interior offensive lineman Joe Otting who moved to announce his commitment to Notre Dame on Tuesday. And on Thursday, the Irish picked up a major pledge from five-star quarterback CJ Carr.

Meanwhile, Paige set up plans to announce his commitment to the Fighting Irish on Friday. Of course, we just watched that pledge take place publicly.

Seeing Paige up close recently was national veteran recruiting reporting Tom Lemming. And he shared his thoughts on Notre Dame’s latest recruiting win with Irish Illustrated along with insight on another offensive lineman.

“When I was out in Phoenix, he came and met me about a month ago,” Lemming said this week. “He’s got a real good frame on him. I was impressed with his size, and he’s not fat at all. He looks the part. And the competition in Phoenix is getting better. I believe he’s got big-time ability. I was really impressed with him to make him a four-star-plus guy. He’s the best offensive lineman in Arizona, but also one of the best in the West.

“Elijah I just saw last month, and I was really impressed by him, more so than I thought I would be. He’s got a real good build, and working under Harry’s going to make him a star.

“Harry Hiestand’s done an excellent job. Harry is probably the most famous O-Line coach in college football. And a lot of the kids are lining up to play for him. Even the kid they got from Kansas (Joe Otting) who’s not getting a lot of publicity, Harry loved him. You know, he’s got that grit. He’s sort of a Tim Grunhard.

“That’s who this kid reminds me of. He’s a hard-nosed, tough guard or center type prospect who can move his feet. He’s going to be real good.”

Altogether, those who have met Paige or are in his daily life talk about a prospect who is a perfect fit for the Fighting Irish.

That includes coach Germinaro.

“Yes, (he’s a perfect fit for Notre Dame) without a doubt,” Germinaro said this week. “We all talk about the NFL. And we all talk about playing on Sundays…But he has great perspective on the degree that he gets. He wants to be able to be set up to be able to work, and he knows football is going to end at some point.

“He’s also just looking for the best relationship he can have. Kids…want to have that family feel when they go on visits. And Eli has said that repeatedly. The coaches that he has the best relationships with, and the best family feel are what he’s looking for.

“Notre Dame has checked all those boxes so far without a doubt.”

Germinaro also believes Paige is the perfect fit for the tackle position.

“He’s a true six-six, maybe a little taller, and 300 pounds,” Germinaro said this week. “He will probably play this year at 290. You know, we lose a few pounds at camp. But it’s a quality 300 pounds, and he’s a fit kid. He looks great.

“I do think he will play offensive tackle at the next level. He has been locked in at left tackle for me. Every (college) coach that I’ve talked to that’s come through, I’ve asked the same question. ‘Hey, do you see him as a tackle?’ They say that’s 100 percent, that’s where he projects.”

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