Solon Page III didn’t hit the road last week expecting to return home as a recruit committed to any particular program.
Conversations with coach Butch Jones and assistant Tommy Thigpen changed Page’s mind quickly and the Volunteers landed one of three commits on Saturday.
“I really wasn’t planning on it when I first was going up there,” Page told InsideTennessee. “I mean I was thinking about just committing somewhere a few weeks before — just anywhere really — but after taking to coach Jones and talking to coach Thigpen, it really put everything in perspective for me. I was like, ‘Hey this is definitely somewhere I would want to go.’
“Coach Jones, when we were talking, he was saying that I’m the No. 1 linebacker on his board. Coming from any other coach I would have just been, ‘OK, thank you.’ But coming from the head coach, that’s really something.”
The Scout three-star prospect chose Tennessee over offers from the likes of North Carolina, Northwestern, Rutgers, Virginia and Wake Forest.
Page plays both linebacker and safety at Kell (Ga.) High School. He registered a 40-yard dash time of 4.59 seconds at The Opening Atlanta in March.
“Coach Thigpen was talking about he wants to see me at WILL or even their nickel position,” Page said. “It’s like a STAR linebacker or hybrid safety/linebacker.
“I like the role. I’ve seen film on the role. Coach Thigpen was talking about what I would be doing in that role. It sounds like a pretty fun position.
“(Thigpen) was saying they have linebackers who they can have in for first or second down but then they’ll have to pull them out for third down just because they can’t really cover that well and will have to put in another corner or a safety. He said with me I’ll be able to stay out there all three downs whether it’s a running situation or a passing situation. He said that is what set me apart from everybody else was my cover skills and my ability to be in run support.”
The Scout No. 9-rated outside linebacker in the Peach State’s 2017 class and No. 28 in the South speaks as though his pledge to the Vols is concrete.
“I was talking to coach Jones and he said he’ll be as committed to me as I am to them. There’s no reason for me to go anywhere else,” Page said.
On his commitment day, Page got a taste of life in Vol Nation, taking in the Orange & White game, which had an announced attendance of 67,027 on Saturday.
“That was really cool for me to have that many people at a spring game because the stadium holds 102,000,” Page said. “To have a little more than half come to the spring game, that’s something that shows a whole lot of fan support, especially for a spring game.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder provided a run-down on what comes with his signed National Letter of Intent.
“Coming up to Knoxville, I expect to play fast, play physical and really just dominate the field,” Page said.
Brian Randolph was a five-year starter at Tennessee and is a Marietta, Georgia, native just like Page. The two spoke about life in orange and white.
“He’s been to the school a bunch just because his pro day just passed,” Page said of Randolph. “So he was just up at Kell and he was working out and running and doing all of that stuff. So obviously I’ve seen him around. I’ve had a few conversations with him, asking when was his pro day, how did he feel about it, stuff like that.
“When I went up there and I committed, he was talking about how it was a great experience for him. He liked it. He had an amazing time. He said that I would definitely like it up there.”
In 2015, the ‘backer registered 110 tackles (77 solo) with 15 tackles for loss, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Page has games on Saturdays so he won’t be able to attend every game at Neyland Stadium this fall. He plans to major in Business and Sports Management or Marketing. He is not able to enroll in January.