Clemson currently has 10 commitments in its 2021 recruiting class, which ranks in the top five nationally right now, and plans to sign around 18 prospects in this cycle according to Dabo Swinney.
In our Breaking Down Clemson’s Top Targets series, The Clemson Insider takes an in-depth look at some of the top names on the Tigers’ board, where they stand with them and more. In this article, we focus on Payton Page:
Hometown (High School): Greensboro, N.C. (Dudley)
Height, Weight: 6-4, 315
Power Five Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Ratings/Rankings: 4-star, No. 2 DT, No. 1 state, No. 30 national (Rivals); 4-star, No. 4 DT, No. 3 state, No. 31 national (ESPN); 4-star, No. 10 DT, No. 13 state, No. 207 national (247Sports)
Page received an offer from Clemson last summer and has visited campus three times since, most recently for the Tigers’ elite junior day in January after attending their games against Texas A&M and Wake Forest last season.
Page has made a few cuts in his recruitment, first announcing a top 11 last October (Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech) before narrowing things down to five schools in January (Clemson, LSU, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee) and then dropping a final three of Clemson, North Carolina and Tennessee last month.
Page has repeatedly said he plans to make his decision before his senior season.
Where Clemson stands:
The Tigers have been the leader for Page for a considerable time now and still remain the team to beat. While things can always change, right now the odds favor Page ultimately ending up in Clemson’s 2021 class.
The Tigers have made Page feel like the priority he is, making sure he knows he is the lone defensive tackle they are pursuing in this cycle, and he has built a great relationship with the coaching staff – especially defensive tackles coach Todd Bates. Here’s what Page has told TCI in regard to the bond he has with Bates:
“Some of these coaches, there’s this thing called over-recruiting. They do a little too much sometimes and it makes me feel like I’m uncomfortable with them sometimes. But Coach Todd, it just feels like I’m talking to one of my bros to be honest.”
Asked what appeals most to him about Clemson, Page told us it’s the way the Tigers make him feel while he’s on campus.
“When I go to Clemson, they treat me like family, first,” he said. “They actually say hey to my family first, then me.”
What Clemson would get:
At 6-foot-4 and well over 300 pounds, Page looks physically ready to play in college right now. His stout frame and weight make him really tough for an offensive lineman to move, and he is not only a run-stuffer but also more than capable as a pass-rusher.
Page is athletic for his size, and when he is not bull-rushing over somebody, he is nimble enough to skirt around an O-lineman in the interior and get into the backfield and has the quickness to move laterally and make tackles as well. He disrupts a lot of plays with his force off the line of scrimmage and ability to overpower the opposition.
Overall, Page presents a major problem for defenses with his sheer size and strength, and he has plenty of room to improve as a defensive tackle which is a scary thought for his future opponents. Expect him to be a difference-maker up front at the next level.
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