Five-Star DT to Return to Tennessee Soon

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    (Photo via @PaytonPage55 on Twitter)

    Five-star defensive tackle Payton Page has been to Tennessee’s campus before. Now, he’ll be returning for a big recruiting weekend at UT after the February dead period lifts.

    Page tweeted out on Thursday that he will be back in Knoxville next week, making a return trip to Tennessee.

    Per the 247Sports Composite rankings, the 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle from Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina is the No. 28 overall prospect, No. 4 defensive tackle, and No. 2 recruit in the state of North Carolina in the 2021 cycle.

    Back in mid-January, Page released a list of his top five schools, and Tennessee made the cut. The Vols were included along with Clemson, LSU, Oregon, and North Carolina.

    Page has paid visits to the Tarheels more than any other school, but that’s to be expected when UNC is less than an hour from where Page lives. The five-star took an unofficial visit to UT’s campus back in late July of 2019, making his first trip to Knoxville. He also visited at the start of the season. Page has a strong relationship with Tennessee’s coaches.

    After his visit to UT in July, Page spoke with Matt Ray of VR2, our recruiting partners at RTI, about his visit. Page called his trip to Tennessee a “family-style visit” and said UT has told him he can be an instant impact type of player.

    “I loved the environment, and the facilities were amazing,” Page told Ray. “Their message has been that I can be an immediate impact.”

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    Page’s upcoming visit will be an unofficial trip to UT, but it’s expected that the Vols will also be getting an official visit from Page in the future as well.

    It’s also worth noting that the Vols were the first team to offer Page way back in May of 2018.

    As a junior this past season for Dudley High School, Page racked up 71 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, three sacks, six quarterback hurries, and a fumble recovery in 13 games according to MaxPreps. In his last two seasons, Page has totaled 151 tackles, 52 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and 27 quarterback hurries.

    Page is one of Tennessee’s top targets in the 2021 cycle, and the Vols have a need for defensive linemen in the upcoming recruiting class. Expect UT’s coaches to push hard for Page over the next year.

    Tennessee is expected to host a number of recruiting targets next weekend, and the men’s basketball game against Auburn on March 7th will see those prospects in attendance as well.

    Right now, the Vols have five players committed to them in their 2021 class, but none are from projected defensive tackles.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.