The Bruins could be facing some major turnover up front in the coming years, and they've now started to target that upcoming need on the recruiting trail.
UCLA football sent class of 2023 offensive tackle Elijah Paige an offer Wednesday, the first they've extended to anyone at that position in next year's cycle. Paige, who is a junior at Pinnacle (AZ), is 6-foot-6 and also plays basketball.
Paige also has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Kansas, Miami (FL), Stanford, Utah and West Virginia.
Paige is a three-star prospect, according to both the 247Sports Composite and Rivals. The 247Sports Composite has Paige pegged as the No. 31 tackle in the country and No. 7 player in Arizona, while Rivals has him at No. 49 at his position and No. 5 in his state.
The 247Sports Composite also lists Paige as a top-500 player in his class.
Paige took a visit to Arizona State right when the COVID-19 recruiting dead period ended in June, and he visited Arizona at the start of September.
UCLA has sent out 18 official offers for 2023 prospects, but Paige's is just the second that has gone to an offensive lineman. The other went to unranked interior lineman Simione Pale from Elk Grove (CA), and both are being recruited by offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Justin Frye.
Paige wouldn't be able to join the team until after the 2022 season, so there is obviously not an immediate impact he or any other 2023 recruit could have on the program. This coming season could be a key transitional period for the UCLA offensive line, however, especially at the tackles, with left tackle Sean Rhyan expected to leave for the NFL and right tackle Alec Anderson considering that possibility as well.
Should both of them leave this offseason, rising sophomore Garrett DiGiorgio would be the only true tackle with any kind of game experience at the collegiate level on the Bruins' roster, making one start in Anderson's place against Colorado on Nov. 13.
While it remains to be seen what Rhyan and Anderson will decide to do in the coming weeks, UCLA could become very thin on the edges of its offensive line, as the only commit at the position in the 2022 cycle is Sam Yoon.
Adding Paige, or any 2023 tackle, would not solve that 2022 issue, but it would help shore up some depth there in the future.