Vols’ Top DT Target Announces Commitment Date

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    Tennessee’s biggest (literally) defensive tackle target announced on Twitter on Friday night that he will be making his commitment public a little later this month.

    Payton Page, one of the top defensive tackles in the 2021 class, took to Twitter on Friday to announce that he would be committing on July 28th. Page previously announced a group of three finalists that included Tennessee, Clemson, and the in-state North Carolina Tarheels.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Page is the No. 81 overall prospect, No. 7 defensive tackle, and No. 4 recruit in the state of North Carolina. The huge 6-foot-4, 335-pound lineman plays for Dudley High School in Greensboro, NC.

    Page has paid visits to the in-state Tarheels more than any other school, but that’s to be expected when UNC is less than an hour from where Page lives. The elite lineman 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 2019 season. He most recently visited Knoxville again at the beginning of March before recruiting visits were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Page has a strong relationship with Tennessee’s coaches.

    It’s worth noting that Tennessee was the first school to extend an offer to Page, giving him an offer way back on May 2, 2018. Since then, he’s added over 30 more scholarship offers.

    Interestingly, Charles Power’s evaluation of Page on 247Sports compares him to former Vol defensive tackle and current NFL offensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie, calling Page “one of the bigger defensive linemen you’ll see in the 2021 cycle.”

    Right now, the crystal ball predictions on 247Sports all point to Clemson as Page’s choice, but the most recent of those predictions came a month ago. Most were logged months before that.

    Page is a massive lineman but moves well for his size. He’s hard to contain at the point of attack and is capable of absorbing multiple linemen. He has good initial burst to overwhelm offensive linemen, and he’s effective at getting into the backfield.

    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.

    Tennessee currently has 23 commitments in their 2021 class, a class that ranks No. 4 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC. Interestingly, both of Page’s other finalists are just ahead of UT in the team rankings on 247Sports, with Clemson coming in at No. 2 and UNC coming in at No. 3 overall.

    The Vols currently hold commitments from two surefire defensive linemen and have commitments from a couple other prospects who could end up playing on the defensive line as well. Four-star defensive tackle KaTron Evans and three-star defensive tackle Isaac Washington are the only true defensive linemen in UT’s class, but three-star athlete Trinity Bell and three-star strong-side defensive end Darrell Jackson could both end up on the line.



    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.