Tennessee football: Vols in top three for 2021 four-star North Carolina DT

For the second time in a day, Tennessee football made the cut for a Carolinas lineman. The Volunteers moved up the list for defensive tackle Payton Page.

There was already good news on the day with Tennessee football making headway in the trenches and targeting the North Carolina area. The Vols had made the top five for three-star offensive lineman Colby Smith of Reidsville, N.C. But later in the evening, the news even got better for them.

Just one county directly south of the county where Smith is from, the Vols made another cut, this time from an elite defensive lineman. Payton Page, a four-star on Rivals out of Dudley High School in Greensboro, N.C., listed the Vols in his top three.

Ranked a top 30 prospect nationally, the No. 2 prospect at his position and the No. 1 player in the state of North Carolina, the 6’4″ 315-pound prospect had the Clemson Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels joining Tennessee football. He announced his list on Instagram.


View this post on Instagram


Ik a lot of 💂🏿 that said I couldn’t but I did , now they rooting for the kid. Top 3….🖤

A post shared by Payton page (@paytonpage55) on Apr 16, 2020 at 4:00pm PDT

Given his size, ratings and where he trimmed the list, Page gave the Vols their best news of the day when it came to recruiting in North Carolina. He would be a huge pickup when looking at those attributes, and there are only two other schools to compete with.

Of course, landing him will be an uphill climb. The Rivals Future Cast and 247Sports Crystal Ball both have Clemson as a unanimous favorite to land Page, and the Rivals Fan Future Cast has Clemson as the favorite by a large majority.

However, it’s worth noting that Clemson being in the school in the Carolinas, albeit not North Carolina, along with being a national championship program helps a lot. Meanwhile, the other school, UNC, is his home state school.

UT being in there with those two schools means the Vols have something to sell beyond just titles and location. He is clearly naturally drawn there and to the coaches, and that can often win out over other, more practical schools in surprise commitments.

With six seniors who could be rotational players on the line this upcoming year, Jeremy Pruitt already has a lot of reloading to do there. Page could easily help with that, and he could obviously build a pipeline into the Carolinas that Phillip Fulmer said himself the Vols need to re-establish.

Simply put, Page would be an amazing get for Tennessee football, and regardless of where he is expected to go, him keeping the Vols in his trimmed list is great news for Rocky Top. That’s a major testament to how far along the Vols have come in recruiting.