USC Football has landed a commitment from Pinnacle (Phoenix, AZ) four-star 2023 Offensive Tackle prospect Elijah Paige. Paige de-committed from Notre Dame 11 days ago on September 22nd, after the Fighting Irish just barely beat Cal to advance to an awful 1-2 start to the season. Notre Dame is now 2-2 to USC's 5-0. The Irish are not ranked, and USC is ranked sixth in the country.
He made the right move. Why would he want to play for a first-time head coach who is now 2-3 in his career as a head guy at Notre Dame over LINCOLN RILEY who is 60-10 in his career as a head coach? It's a no-brainer. Notre Dame is the same program who lost to MARSHALL this season, and lost to them AT HOME.
Paige is a four-star prospect (all recruiting ratings and rankings in article are as of 247Sports). He is the No. 7 player in all of Arizona. Look--it's tough to find big offensive linemen out here on the west coast these days. It's vital for USC to land the ones that are out here. Paige is most certainly one of them, as he's the No. 30 OT in the country.
Elijah Paige gives USC Football a chance to have a good offensive line again next year.
USC Football has had a good O-Line these past two years, but will likely be losing their top two offensive linemen this coming offseason in starting Left Guard Andrew Vorhees and starting Center Brett Neilon. They will also likely be losing one of their left tackles in Bobby Haskins. Now that Paige is in play, however, the prospects for this offensive line next season actually look pretty solid.
SC will still have Courtland Ford at left tackle. They will still be able to move Jonah Monheim to Left Guard. While Monheim has been good as a tackle this year, he can also be a very good guard. Heck, he was the No. 16 Guard in the country in the 2020 recruiting class. It will also give him consistent starting experience on the left side. If anything, being well-rounded like that will improve his draft stock when the time comes.
Next, they can move team captain Justin Dedich to center. Obviously, Dedich has been very good at right guard, but he has experience playing center for SC. He also was the No. 2 Center in the country coming out of high school (2018 class), proving that he always had the talent to play there. That's another move that will improve Dedich's draft stock.
SC can play another former four-star recruit in Jason Rodriguez at Right Guard, and then slot Paige in at Right Tackle. That's four-star talent from left guard through right tackle, and while Ford wasn't a big recruit coming out of high school, he has already proven that he has the athleticism and experience to perform well for the rest of this year and beyond.
Paige also will bring a lot of size too. He's already 6-7(!), 304 pounds, and he hasn't even seen a college weight room yet. Paige also had offers from other big-time programs besides Notre Dame and USC; such as Miami, Tennessee, Penn State, Oregon, and Nebraska. SC did their jobs and scooped him up when they really needed it.
That's because SC is now first in the Pac-12 in the recruiting rankings. That makes for a top 13 ranking in the country, as SC now has their 10th four/five-star commit of the cycle. They're up to 19 commits in total now. This is their second four-star OL pickup, and their first four-star OT pickup.
When SC wins, they can even sort of recruit itself. That most certainly had to be part of Paige's decision to move away from the awful football ND is playing, and move towards the exceptional football USC is playing.