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Five-Star EDGE Elijah Rushing Commits, Establishing New Program Milestone

Arizona Secures Elite Talent as Five-Star EDGE Elijah Rushing Commits, Establishing New Program Milestone

Elijah Rushing, a five-star EDGE prospect for 2024, gave Arizona his pledge on Thursday, probably the most significant recruiting success in program history. Rushing is the first five-star recruit the Wildcats have signed in the tenure of the star system, and he is currently ranked No. 8 in the 247Sports rankings. The program moves up one spot in the 2024 247Sports class rankings from 50th to 41st.

Five miles from the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona, where Rushing plays high school football, is Salpointe Catholic. For his services, the Wildcats bested several other teams, including Tennessee, Oregon, and Notre Dame. Cruz, Elijah’s brother, transferred to the Wildcats from Florida and is now a player.

Elijah Rushing joins the Wildcats to Forge a New Era of Athletic dominance

Rushing has a distinct body type with great length and room to expand. You have a talent that is nearly 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds with a mold, build, and unmatched physical attributes. He can make plays from the inside or edge of the defensive line.

He exhibits excellent bend, quickness, and explosion as a pass rusher off the edge. Despite being a longer athlete, he plays with a high pad level, has good cornering ability, and can dip and rip. On plays directed away from him, he also can lose weight and redirect in pursuit mode.

He does an excellent job of applying pressure to the quarterback by employing a range of pass-rush techniques. He is strong enough to disengage from and shut out his opponent as a run defender. The constancy of his strength and his strong hands influences his presence.

He gives the defense the ability to be versatile in terms of positions. He offers the play-caller the chance to optimize the system with the skills and qualities he brings to the table, whether a four-person front or an odd-front defense. He continually plays actively and vigorously, which helps him stand out from the crowd.

As he enters his senior season, he projects as a multi-year starter who brings a well-rounded game to the field. He might be a player that slips off the board relatively early in the draft since he has room for physical and mental improvement.

Behind Stanford and Oregon, the Wildcats are the third-ranked Pac-12 club in the 2024 class. Arizona placed sixth among Pac-12 teams in the 2023 recruiting cycle. Before Rushing, Tetaiora McMillian, a four-star wide receiver ranked 37th overall in the 2022 class, was the highest-ranked commitment for the team. McMillan had an early impact as a rookie, recording 39 receptions for 702 yards and eight touchdowns.

Fisch’s Rebuild Rewarded: Arizona Wildcats Thriving as Program Reaps the Benefits

Under the leadership of head coach Jedd Fisch, the Wildcats program has undergone a complete reconstruction. Fisch was appointed to lead the school’s rehabilitation after the 2020 season. Fisch’s first season saw the team finish with a dismal 1-11 record, but the following campaign saw a marked turnaround as the team went 5-7 and came close to earning a bowl berth for the first time since 2017.

Rushing’s pledge indicates that the reconstruction is almost visible on the horizon. Arizona has already acquired former five-star linebacker Justin Flowe from Oregon and wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig from Colorado through the transfer channel.

As a true freshman, rushing can play for many minutes. Arizona’s total defense last season was 125th out of 131 FBS teams, and to advance this unit, it must do better. The Arizona Wildcats have a game-changer on that side of the ball, thanks to rushing.

Arizona Wildcats Secure Massive In-State Recruiting Victory

Rushing is ranked as the top edge rusher in his class and just so happens to reside in Arizona. Numerous prestigious institutions vied for Rushing, but Arizona surpassed some of the top Pac-12 and SEC programs.

Since Kelee Ringo, who committed to Georgia in the 2020 cycle and was ranked No. 7 in his class, Rushing is the player with the highest ranking to come out of Arizona. Before Rushing’s commitment, Arizonan Mike Bell had the best ranking before Rushing did.

Although Arizona won’t contend for the Pac-12 championship this year, Fisch and the Wildcats program could benefit from adding Rushing as a program-building element in the long run.

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