Zone Read: Elijah Rushing Unplugged

Arizona Sports News online

This week’s “Zone Read” takes us to Tucson for a chat with Salpointe Catholic junior defensive end Elijah Rushing who is not only a top 2024 Arizona prospect, but one of the most coveted recruits in the country.

You recently received your fifth recruiting star. Has it now completely sunk in that you’re one of the top 2024 players in the nation? “Honestly, it sunk in prior to that. Just by how my recruiting has gone and how I’ve been able to handle myself. It probably sunk in prior to that but this is just in addition. I don’t really look at the ratings like that. For me, it’s just more of a reason to keep pushing and keep getting better.”

Your body has really transformed over the last two years since arriving on campus, Now you’re up to 235 pounds. Is it crazy to see how much bigger and stronger you’ve gotten since you’re freshman year? “I’ve had to work for everything. Getting in that weight room and working hard. Plus, my eating habits to put on weight. The biggest thing is intake of calories. Plus, after lifts you have to get the protein in – a certain amount of calories to keep building. Our strength and conditioning coach helps me fine tune all that.”

Academically, Salpointe is challenging. You currently hold a 3.8 GPA and a little birdie told the “Zone Read” your favorite subject is math. Why do you love the numbers so much? “For me, that’s just been a knack that I have. I’ve always been good in math so that’s just something I follow. Math has just always come easy to me.”

Salpointe has had a number of elite players come through the program recently – Bijan Robinson, Lathan Ransom, Bruno Fina, Jonah Miller. Now you’re one of those. How do you hope to etch your own Lancer legacy among those greats? “I’m not really sure. I haven’t really thought much about that. I’m just working hard and doing things the way I do it. If it happens to me, I’ll be blessed [to be mentioned with them]. I just want to carry myself the way I’ve been taught. I’m just hoping to keep the Salpointe legacy moving. I would love to be mentioned with those [greats].”

Let’s get back to food. Favorite restaurant in Tucson? “Favorite Tucson restaurant? I’d say ATL Wings or Angry Crab Shack but mostly ATL. I like to keep it simple at ATL. Maybe some regular spicy [wings] or lemon pepper. I’m not really fancy like that [laughing].”

Favorite Eegee’s drink? “I’d say my favorite flavor is watermelon, whenever they have it in. If that’s not in, I’ll just go with the basic strawberry-lime.”

I believe you’re up to 25 offers now. I’m not going to deep dive into this too much but what is your recruiting timeline look like moving forward? “After talking with my dad, I’ll be dropping a Top 10 after this season and I’ll be committing next spring before going into my senior season.”

One of those 25 offers is from Oregon. I know you took an unofficial visit and enjoyed your time in Eugene. Are the Ducks one program you’re going to take a hard look at when deciding your college destination? “Definitely. The relationship I’ve built with their coaches. It’s a great program. They’re a program I’m looking at. Once you go there, there’s really nothing else that can really compare but, for me, it’s not all about the facilities. I’m looking at the schemes and the whole program, not just all the flash.”

Please give us the full scouting report on your younger brother, David Rushing. “[Laughing]. David Rushing. First of all, he’s an athlete. Class of 2027. He has speed, great hands, and length. He can go up against anyone who you match him up with and he’s going to compete. He’s going to give you his best. He’s a defensive back/wide receiver, but he can do it all. Coming into Salpointe, he should be around 6’1. When he’s a [senior], be should be around 6’4 so he’s definitely going to be a top prospect when his time comes.”