Paige Down To 3

Ahmad Paige goes goal line to goal line on the gridiron like a gazelle in high gear and he's finishing his high-profile recruiting process by going coast to coast before returning to his home in Sterliington, La., and announcing his decision on Monday.

He visited Florida last weekend with his parents and will jet to the left coast this weekend to take in the many attractions of Los Angeles and the Southern Cal campus. He has narrowed his choices to Florida, USC and Tennessee, eliminating Georgia, LSU and Florida State. He orignally committed to FSU, but didn't reaffirm his declartion while on his official visit there (Jan. 12), signaling a probable change of heart.

"It just wasn't for me," Paige told National Recruiting Editor Allen Wallace. "I didn't feel that comfortable with them anymore. They've had a lot of coaching changes and it just felt like I was being recruited by a totally different school. They just didn't seem to be after me as much as the others."

The Trojans and Gators would appear to have an advantage getting Paige's last two visits. However Tennessee had his first official and it was on Alabama weekend. The Vols got a chance to make a lasting impression which is sometimes very difficult to surpass as it becomes crystalized in a prospects' memory.

Although the allure of USC can never be discounted, the distance could be a factor which means his decision may ultimately come down to Florida and Tennessee. The Gators have a lot of appeal coming off a national title season, but there is more early opportunity at UT. The Vols' ace in the hole is receiver coach Trooper Taylor who has developed a solid relationship with the personable Paige.

"It's a great relationship," Paige told IT. "He's a great guy. I love him to death. He includes me in with his family and everything. I can't say anything bad about him. He's a great, great guy."

Taylor's recent decision to turn down the head coaching job at Division II Howard was certainly a boost to UT's chances.

"I think they're going to teach the same thing wherever you go," he said. "To me it's about the relationship with a (position) coach off the field. You want to have somebody you can come talk to about things."

Paige also favorably a about the rest of UT's coaching staff in the interview with Allen: "I like the coaches at Tennessee too. I love their coaching staff. They are really committed to the team and they take care of their players. It's a great team atmosphere there. They produce great players every year and the receiver gets the ball a lot."

This recruiting story promises to be a real page turner.

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