Vols vs. Trojans for Paige

A recruiting battle that had come down to Tennessee and Florida last week is suddenly down to Tennessee and USC

Ahmad Paige announced that news late Monday after his official visit to California over the weekend. The tiebreaker will take place Wednesday when the four-star talent from Sterlington, La., announces his choice at 9 a.m. CST on ESPNU.

"Now that I've had a chance to see USC, they have a shot," Paige told Scott Schrader of WeAreSC.com. "I had a real good time on my trip. I had a lot of fun talking to the guys. I thought they (USC) would only have guys from California, but they have a lot of guys from far away. Everyone is like family and they all love the coaches."

Rated the nation's No. 9 wide receiver the U.S. Army All-American is coming off a couple of highly productive seasons. As a junior he caught 45 passes for 1,208 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 26 yards per reception. As a senior he faced more double coverage along with man and zone combinations. Despite the added attention Paige turned in 41 catches for 863 yards and 12 TDs. He also returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score.

He originally committed to Florida State last fall but eliminated the Seminoles recently along with Georgia and LSU. His choice between UT and USC pits the school he visited first and the school he visited last.

"I'm down to USC and Tennessee," Paige said. "At Tennessee they have great coaches and they really take care of you. With USC, I'd have the opportunity to play early with only five receivers returning. They have a great offense and great traditions."

Paige, 6-2, 170, is looking for early playing time and with UT's top three starters leaving there is opportunity. On the other hand, USC has signed only one other receiver and his chances to impact the depth chart there is also good. He needs to add some size and strength to become an immediate factor at either school, but his skills set is exceptional.

"I'm looking at the overall feel," he said. "How I fit in with the program and how program fits me. How I feel around the players. How I feel about the overall area; is it somewhere I can live four or five years?

Paige is being recruited by Trooper Taylor, who would also be his position coach at Tennessee.

"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."

Will Taylor's appeal be enough to overcome the Trojans' allure?


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