Looking Ahead: Defensive Tackle

Looking Ahead: Defensive Tackle


Looking Ahead: Defensive Tackle


After signing the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2020, per ESPN, Clemson is putting together a 2021 class that looks like it will be special as well. There is a long way to go before the cycle is over, but the Tigers currently own the No. 2 class in the country according to the 247Sports Composite, and they have a lot more upper-echelon talent in their crosshairs.

In our Looking Ahead series, The Clemson Insider takes a position-by-position look at the top targets on the Tigers’ board for the 2021 class. In this article, we focus on the defensive tackle position:

The Tigers continue to pursue only one defensive tackle in the 2021 class, and their bull’s-eyed target remains Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley five-star Payton Page.

Page (6-4, 315) received an offer from Clemson last summer, and after attending a couple of games at Death Valley in the fall, he returned to campus for the program’s elite junior day Jan. 25.

The Tigers were already in a good spot with Page entering the latest visit but further strengthened their standing by getting him back on campus in a more personal setting where he was surrounded by the coaching staff, Clemson commits and other priority targets. Page really hit it off with five-star defensive end commit Korey Foreman, and the two have talked about teaming up together on the Tigers’ D-line.

In January, Page announced a top five of Clemson, LSU, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee and told TCI recently all those schools are still recruiting him hard along with others like Ohio State, Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina, Miami and Southern Cal.

While a lot of teams are coming after Page, North Carolina and Tennessee look like the only schools besides Clemson that are legitimately in the conversation. Mack Brown and the Tar Heels are doing everything they can to try to keep Page in the state, while the Volunteers were able to attract Page for another visit to Knoxville on March 7 prior to the NCAA suspending all in-person recruiting due to COVID-19.

Page is eyeing a decision before his senior year and told us he wants to take more visits before pulling the trigger on his commitment. However, there is no telling how long the NCAA’s dead period will last – it was recently extended through May 31 – so it remains to be seen if Page will wait it out and try to make some final visits or instead decide to go ahead and get his commitment out of the way.

Regardless, Clemson is still the leader for Page and we continue to like where the Tigers stand.

Page is ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect in the 2021 class by the 247Sports Composite, which considers him the No. 2 prospect in North Carolina and No. 4 defensive tackle nationally.

As a junior last season, Page was credited with 71 total tackles, 26 tackles for loss and three sacks.

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