The Under Armour Camp in Columbus was loaded with talented blockers, but it was 2023 interior lineman Josh Padilla walked away with the top honors from the camp organizers. The Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne blocker was the winner of the OL Big Man Challenge.
Padilla is only the fourth interior lineman in the 2023 class to earn an offer from Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have already singled out the four-star prospect as one of the premier players at his position for the '23 cycle, and both offensive line coach Jeff Quinn and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman have been recruiting the talented blocker so far.
“They tell me to always keep going and to always keep grinding and everything,” Padilla told Irish Breakdown. “They always talk about the great academics they have and how they're going to produce me as a great O-Lineman, stuff like that. Basically, just like the academics there are one of a kind.”
Growing up just under four hours from Notre Dame's campus, Padilla is quite familiar with the Notre Dame program, and he's observed from afar just how effective the Fighting Irish program has been in pumping out NFL-caliber players at his position.
“I feel like they produce great offensive linemen every year,” Padilla said. “They always have one or two offensive linemen that always standout in the whole entire nation. They've had Quinton Nelson, Zack Martin and great offensive linemen to come through that program.”
So far, Padilla holds the ranking as the No. 6 offensive guard in his class according to 247Sports.com, but the Notre Dame target took a lot of snaps at center on Sunday and said he is looking to play anywhere on the interior O-Line at the next level. Padilla presents a lot of versatility when it comes to blocking schemes, and that's another one of the advantages that he affords for his future program.
Being from Ohio, Padilla has been hearing from the Buckeyes quite a bit so far and Ohio State marks one of Padilla's 10 offers. Padilla mentioned how landing a scholarship from Ohio State is possibly the highlight of his high school career already, so he clearly holds the in-state program in high regard.
“[OSU] Coach [Greg] Studrawa loves that I get after it and I have a great mentality and my dominance on the field,” Padilla added. “He says he's going to continue improving my technique and building myself up as a player. They are basically recruiting me as an offensive lineman, but that's what I want to play in college is guard or center. That's my plan.”
Padilla has grown up watching other Wayne alumni, such as Robert Landers and Braxton Miller, succeed in college at Ohio State, so he has envisioned that potential path for himself as well. Despite that fact, Notre Dame still has a chance to land the highly coveted prospect down the line and will be hosting Padilla on June 6. That will be a big visit weekend for Notre Dame as a contingent of 2022 and 2023 recruits are set to be on campus.
Overall, Padilla stressed that his recruitment will come down to a three-pronged approach. First, the four-star recruit is looking to build strong, trusted relationships with his future coaching staff. After that, having quality facilities is important to the Notre Dame target, and he's also looking for a location that he feels comfortable at. Those are all important factors to consider, and Padilla will have an opportunity to work on each of those areas with the Fighting Irish staff during the first weekend in June.
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