When one Ivy League team steps up, the others take notice.
Christopher Paige is noticed, all right. Penn became the second Ivy school to make a football offer to the Punahou wide receiver. The quest by Penn came just six days after Columbia opened up a potential roster spot for Paige.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior-to-be now has seven FBS/FCS schools in pursuit of his talent. His other offers are from Air Force, Army, Columbia, Navy, Northern Colorado and Valparaiso.
Punahou interim head coach Leonard Lau, who was previously the offensive coordinator, is not surprised.
“First off, Chris has legitimate size and speed that makes him an intriguing wide receiver. At 6-2 with track speed and the ability to run great routes and catch the ball makes him a promising Division-I prospect for sure,” said Lau, who was a wide receiver at Hawaii. “The only thing he needs to help him grow is game experience. Hopefully, we will be able to give him that when it’s safe to resume play.”
Paige had a key role last season as a junior, joining the starting lineup in the Buffanblu’s second game because of an injury to starter Kanoa Kalahiki. He finished the season with 23 catches for 347 yards and four touchdowns. He is also a track-and-field athlete, a hurdler who was one of the best in Hawaii, but the high school season was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Chris did a great job being ready physically, mentally and emotionally. We had total confidence in him,” Lau added. “I’m not surprised at all with his college offers. In fact, early last spring, Army called and was asking for any underclassmen that we thought could be prospects. I told them they should take a look at Chris. He’s a good fit for the academies because of his academics and athletic abilities.”
Though his opportunity to be the go-to pass catcher in Punahou’s explosive offense is on hold — the football season has been postponed to January, at the earliest — his upside is whetting the appetites of recruiters. He has a 3.6 grade-point average and a 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash.
“Overall, Chris is just a great kid. His parents (James and Traci Paige) did a great job raising him. He’s soft-spoken, but very polite and respectful,” Lau said. “He gets along well with all his teammates and coaches. A guy like that leads by example through his work ethic in the classroom, weight room and football field.”
FBS/FCS Offers (chronological order)
Army (independent), Feb. 25, 2020
Air Force (Mountain West), Apr. 1, 2020
Navy (American Athletic), Apr. 13, 2020
Valparaiso (Pioneer), June 19, 2020
Northern Colorado (Big Sky), July 27, 2020
Columbia (Ivy League), July 29, 2020
Penn (Ivy League), Aug. 4, 2020
Note: Ivy League schools have financial packages for recruits rather than scholarship offers.