2023 Season Countdown: #19 Makari Paige

2023 Season Countdown: #19 Makari Paige

August 16, 2023
Makari Paige

Name: Makari Paige
208 lbs.
High school: 
West Bloomfield (MI) West Bloomfield
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I ranked Paige #38 and said he would be a backup safety and special teamer (LINK). He started five games and made 41 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups, and 1 quarterback hurry.
TTB Rating:

Paige had an uphill climb to play safety last year. Not only was fellow safety Rod Moore a fixture in the starting lineup, but R.J. Moten also had played significant time and began the year as Michigan’s strong safety. Paige played quite a bit in 2020, but he disappeared a little bit in 2021.

But that uphill climb? Paige climbed it. He started five of the games down the stretch, including against Purdue in the Big Ten championship game. Perhaps his most noteworthy play was the tipped, juggling interception he notched against Ohio State in the waning moments of last season’s 45-23 win. Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud tried to float the ball in to a fairly well covered tight end in Cade Stover, and Stover’s leaping attempt tipped the ball in the air, leaving it to be corralled by Paige. It snuffed out any hopes Ohio State had of coming back against the Wolverines.

This year Moten saw the writing on the wall and transferred to Florida, even though it looks like he’ll be a backup this year for the Gators. That leaves Moore and Paige as the seemingly unquestioned leaders to start at safety, with guys like Quinten Johnson, Zeke Berry, and Keon Sabb backing them up. Johnson is experienced and both Berry and Sabb come with some excitement about their athleticism, so it’s a fairly solid situation for the Wolverines. Paige added about eight pounds in the off-season and should be ready to be a little more physical, even though physicality has never really been a problem. He should have a good season and could get drafted after the year if he chooses to leave.

Prediction: Starting strong safety; 60 tackles, 1 interception

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