Salpointe’s Elijah Rushing joins teammate Keona Wilhite with decommitment from Arizona

Salpointe’s Elijah Rushing has joined fellow Lancer defensive end Keona Wilhite with a decommitment from the Arizona football program.

Wilhite made his announcement via social media last week and Rushing did the same on Sunday night.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the coaches and staff at the University of Arizona for the opportunity to be a Wildcat,” Rushing wrote on Twitter. “As a hometown kid, my desire was to rep my city while becoming the best version of myself. I have taken into consideration the recent progress and strides the program has made. Although it is evident that the program is on the rise, I have to consider my future goal. I have come to the conclusion that the program is not the right fit for me to take the next step with regard to my development. I am, therefore, decommitting from the program.”

Rushing is rated as a five-star defensive end and the No. 8 overall prospect in the 2024 class by 247Sports.

“His desire as a hometown kid was to stay here and reach the next step in his development, but we’re deciding to decommit to weigh out all the options moving forward,” Rushing’s father, George, told 247Sports. “They have made some great strides as a program and done a lot of really good things, but they’re building more long term. The strategy doesn’t align with our goals and the steps we want to take to continue progressing while competing for championships.”

Rushing, 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, is a three-year varsity starter.

As a sophomore, he had 75 tackles, nine for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Last season, he finished with 73 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks.

He has 26 tackles, nine for loss, with six sacks, this season for Salpointe, which is 6-0 and ranked No. 12 in the state among 6A teams. Offensive gameplans have included quick-passing schemes and avoiding Rushing’s area this season.

George Rushing told 247Sports that Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Arizona State, Tennessee and Auburn “are all schools that we’ve been in contact throughout and they’ve been pushing hard. They haven’t stopped recruiting.”

Wilhite is rumored in recruiting circles to be favoring Washington, which had its defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield standing on the Salpointe sideline the night before the Huskies played Arizona at Arizona Stadium last week. Wilhite decommitted from Arizona two days later.

Oregon co-defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi attended Salpointe’s game Friday and stood on the sideline.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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