Ever since committing to Notre Dame on June 10, Irish offensive tackle recruit Elijah Paige has spent most of his time getting back to being a seventeen year old kid and concentrating on his senior year. It is, however, hard for the Arizona standout to not get the excited tor the next chapter in his football career - dawning the blue and gold.
Paige has spent a lot of time getting to know the other recruits in the 2023 class, enjoying the moment and making sure he is doing everything in his power to prepare for that transition.
Some fans obsess too much over star ratings, where players rank and the assumed value they can bring. For Paige, he has enjoyed getting to know the other recruits and beginning to forge those unbroken bonds as the 2023 group moves towards becoming solidified.
It’s also nice for Paige to put the recruiting process behind him finally.
“Getting to know the other recruits has been great,” said Paige. “I don’t really talk to anyone but Notre Dame. It’s just a blessing to be in the position that I am. I enjoyed recruiting but it was really chaotic.
“Everyone is telling you something different and pulling you in a million directions,” continued Paige. “Now I can really focus on the team and academics.”
Ultimately it was the authentic approach of Harry Hiestand and the rest of the Irish staff that won out. Paige has spent the last couple of months getting to know the other recruits, and specifically his fellow offensive lineman. For a position that is so fundamentally built off of collaboration, the Notre Dame 2023 group is hitting it off early.
“I mostly talk with the other offensive line commits; Joe Otting, Sully (Absher), Sam (Pendleton) and Charles (Jagusah), they’re all awesome guys,” Paige explained. “We’re going to spend the next four to five years together so it’s been really important to build that relationship. We are all like minded people which really helps.”
Their differences make each offensive lineman unique. Those differences have helped to build those relationships. Paige is well aware of them but it is what has made that relationship building process so special.
“It’s really cool to be able to build bonds with people from very different parts of the country,” he said. “We obviously have common ground, and are going to Notre Dame for the same reasons. It’s been great.”
The Arizona standout has been adamant about his relationship with Coach Hiestand and the impact he had on the recruitment for the 6-7, 305-pound offensive lineman. That relationship has continued to grow even after he made his decision. It goes well beyond football.
“We still get on the phone at least once a week for the most part,” Paige said. “There is no more recruitment talk at this point. Now it’s all about life and the season coming up. We have also been talking about me graduating early and doing the early enrollee stuff, which I’m planning on doing.”
Paige will be a welcomed early enrollee into an incredibly talented offensive line group. For now, he is just enjoying the process and continues to understand just how fortunate he is.
“It’s just truly an exciting thing to be a part of. Not everyone can be a part of a No. 1 class,” said Paige. “Building the relationships and being part of the rich tradition is just a surreal opportunity.”
As is the case for every fan and spectator, Paige is also incredibly anxious to see the product that Marcus Freeman and the staff put on the field this fall. Their potential impact can stand as a huge precursor for what is to come.
“I really can’t wait just to watch,” he said. ”I’m planning on getting out to Las Vegas for the Shamrock Series game and will also be in South Bend for the Clemson game. I’m so excited just to see everything that the team accomplishes.”
In only a few short months, Paige is set to officially become a part of the Notre Dame family. With his senior season in front of him, he will have plenty to keep him busy. For now, he is just enjoying the ride and hoping not to waste a second.
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