Payton Page is one of the best players Steven Davis has been around in his two decades as a coach at Dudley High School in Greensboro, N.C.
The Clemson Insider visited Dudley on Monday to see Page as part of our Tour of Champions and also spoke with Davis while there about the five-star defensive tackle and top Clemson target.
“He’s one of the better players we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Davis, who joined Dudley as an assistant in 2000 before becoming the head coach in 2004. “He’s got a chance to be one of the best, and I think the best in the nation. It’s one thing that’s keeping him right now from being I think the No. 1 D-tackle in the nation – if he can drop 20 pounds, I think the sky will be the limit. But just an outstanding player that anyone would love to have, and we definitely enjoy having him.”
Page — who currently stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 337 pounds — is unlike anyone that Davis has coached but reminds him of a player like former Nebraska All-American defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, now a five-time NFL Pro Bowler.
“No one I’ve coached, I can honestly say that,” Davis said. “But just some of the bigger guys, like Ndamukong Suh. Because he’s that size, he’s quick off the ball and he’s extremely strong and special for this level. And I think by the time he gets to college, he’ll be strong for that level. So that would be one of the guys I think. His mentality on the field is a whole lot different from what it is just in the general public. Once he gets on the field, he turns into an outstanding player. So, again, we love having him.”
Off the field, Page checks all of the boxes that Clemson looks for in a prospective student-athlete from a character standpoint.
“He’s just an outstanding young man. Just full of fun — laughter, really joyful,” Davis said. “You won’t have any problems with him. If he commits to Clemson, there won’t be no problem at all as far as his behavior. His mom and dad have done a great job raising that young man, and we’re just trying to help them out, just keeping him focused here while he’s at Dudley.”
In January, Page released a top five of Clemson, North Carolina, LSU, Tennessee and Oregon and told TCI he is looking to make his decision “real soon.”
Davis believes Page will be a great player for whichever program he chooses to suit up for.
“I think he’d fit right in,” Davis said. “Regardless of where he goes in the country, he’s going to fit right in. He’s that type of player.”
Page is the No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 25 overall prospect in the 2021 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Spring practice is just around the corner. Get your official Clemson gear right here!