UT receiver Paige just wants a fresh start

KINGSPORT — Wide receiver Ahmad Paige is leaving Tennessee.

Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Paige confirmed his plans to transfer and cited personal reasons for his departure.

“It’s more of just a personal thing,” he said. “It had nothing to do with the depth chart, because that can always change. This is a tremendous place. I just want a fresh start, and I look at it like I had to take a new journey.”

Paige said he spoke with UT coach Lane Kiffin several times leading up to the decision and that Kiffin was supportive of his decision to transfer, likely closer to his hometown of Monroe, La.

“He’s been really supportive of me,” said Paige, who did not catch a pass last year after redshirting as a true freshman in 2007. “It’s nothing negative. He told me I was a great person and he’d support me.”

Kiffin initially got to know Paige during his time as an assistant at Southern California and had spoken to Paige, who played in the U.S. Army All-American game as a senior in high school.

“We really wish Ahmad the best,” Kiffin said Monday evening before a Big Orange Caravan stop in Kingsport. “I think Ahmad’s a great, great kid. I really enjoyed being around him. Sometimes change is good for people. Sometimes it’s good to get closer to home just for a change. I think he’s kind of narrowed down a couple places closer to where he’s from. Hopefully he’ll do really well.”

Kiffin said he would evaluate any of Paige’s potential destinations to determine a release.

“But we’ll be very lenient on where he can go,” Kiffin said.

Paige said he has his eye on a few different schools, although he declined to name specific schools.

According to Paige, Kiffin gave him his cell phone number and offered to recommend Paige to any future coaches.

Paige was a member of UT’s top-10 signing class in 2007. He maintains close friendships with several of UT’s high-profile signees from that class, including safety Eric Berry, defensive end Ben Martin and wide receiver Gerald Jones.

Those relationships made the choice to leave difficult, Paige said.

“That swayed my decision plenty of times,” Paige said. “I’m real close to Gerald and all those guys. Those guys are forever my friends, but it’s going to be hard leaving those guys. It was great here. Everything you want is here. It’s not like I regret coming here.”

Paige, who was named the Vols' most improved player in spring practice before the 2008 season, becomes the sixth player to leave the program since Kiffin was introduced as UT's head coach Dec. 1.

Tailback Lennon Creer, quarterback B.J. Coleman, as well as offensive linemen Preston Bailey, Donald Langley and Darris Sawtelle also elected not to return.

Counting four players who were dismissed - safety Demetrice Morley, receiver E.J. Abrams-Ward and offensive linemen Ramone Johnson and Darius Myers - 10 UT players won't return to Knoxville next season.

That many departures could result in possible penalties under the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate, which will be released later this summer. Scholarship penalties are only imposed if a team falls below the mandated score of 925 and has an underclassman leave the university while academically ineligible. Because of its past performance, Tennessee would not be subject to any historical penalties under the APR.

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Comments » 204

bmgvirgo#210233 writes:

Another one bites the dust.....

TNParker writes:

First! yes!

Txvol57 writes:

another one cant hack it...he was a bust..never progressed

bmvolfan writes:

This is a shame...hoped he was going to be a big contributor this year.

bigorange61 writes:

in response to TNParker:

First! yes!

NO!

crappieking writes:

in response to TNParker:

First! yes!

2nd. Sorry.

DennisVols writes:

This will continue to happen to all those not willing to put in the effort needed to become a champion.
Quiters are weak in body and soul.
Makes you wonder about the state of this team under CPF. How much was not getting done in the training department. Might explain the discipline issues though.

golfballs03 writes:

make way for nu'keese

chrisw2967 writes:

I guess he didnt want to take another chance on running into the wall.

utfpmd writes:

Makin' room for those who want to practice and play hard!

Ironcity writes:

in response to DennisVols:

This will continue to happen to all those not willing to put in the effort needed to become a champion.
Quiters are weak in body and soul.
Makes you wonder about the state of this team under CPF. How much was not getting done in the training department. Might explain the discipline issues though.

Disagree completely. He is not a D1 receiver. He is doing whats best for him. It also helps the team because we can replace him with someone that might help. This happens all the time at big time programs and has nothing to do with Kiffin or Fulmer.

If anything it shows you how wrong the so called recruiting sites can be who rated this guy a 4 star receiver.

Basketball_Jones writes:

Pretty sad, this kid had some potential and basically never amounted to anything at UT. Makes you wonder what it would have been like had this guy been an incoming freshman and not wasted a year watching Rogers run a 4.6 and drop passes

CoachNeyland writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're just lucky you don't have to face that big tough Ole Miss squad again.

Colliervol writes:

Saw the handwriting on the wall after Hancock, Warren and Denarious Moore took over. Survival of the fittest.

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

Off topic? Yup! Defamatory? Yup! Abusive? Yup! Fact? Nope!

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to NobodyCares:

Off topic? Yup! Defamatory? Yup! Abusive? Yup! Fact? Nope!

That was supposed to be in response to lil' zzgatorboy's absurd comment!

Jonboy writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

bet he has his teblow panties on

1manningfan writes:

in response to CoachNeyland:

You're just lucky you don't have to face that big tough Ole Miss squad again.

Shut up coach Neyland you just sounded stupid saying that to a Gator, makes all Vol fans look bad for your dribble. Lets look to beat them and not look for other teams to do it for us. Pathetic!

Go Vols!!!

MrBamSeydu writes:

All Ahmad Paige ever did was run into a brick wall. Who cares?

GreerVol22 writes:

Say, here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing star again.
There I go, turn the Paige.

dshawn13#224876 writes:

"He couldn't adjust to the bounce-pass."

Good one, even if it was from a Gator fan

PumpUptheVOLume writes:

in response to chrisw2967:

I guess he didnt want to take another chance on running into the wall.

Funny...Just funny Dude

dvhill100 writes:

The house cleaning continues. The frosh WR's have got to be excited. Let's hope they can come in an produce in a hurry.

It is going to be a very interesting year this season. A complete make-over for the TN squad. Hopefully LK and company will surprise some folks and we'll be a much more competitive team than last year (defense excluded of course).

Colliervol writes:

in response to NobodyCares:

That was supposed to be in response to lil' zzgatorboy's absurd comment!

The KNS doesn't pay attention to its own rules. Why should the trolls?

shoalcreekvol writes:

in response to DennisVols:

This will continue to happen to all those not willing to put in the effort needed to become a champion.
Quiters are weak in body and soul.
Makes you wonder about the state of this team under CPF. How much was not getting done in the training department. Might explain the discipline issues though.

Well said.

shoalcreekvol writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Disagree completely. He is not a D1 receiver. He is doing whats best for him. It also helps the team because we can replace him with someone that might help. This happens all the time at big time programs and has nothing to do with Kiffin or Fulmer.

If anything it shows you how wrong the so called recruiting sites can be who rated this guy a 4 star receiver.

Careful! Those recruiting services are the ones who gave us pretty much the only thing we have to brag about these days...

Waldorf writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey gatorzz,

You buy any of those Tebow panties for your sister yet?

RTB writes:

Can't believe there is no FIRST on here yet.

JohnnyU writes:

More fallout. Would like to see more info as to why. Does this mean Nuke Richardson has a clearer path to having an impact?

PumpUptheVOLume writes:

in response to bmvolfan:

This is a shame...hoped he was going to be a big contributor this year.

2 years and he never saw the field coming in 2007 as a so called "4 Star" recruit.
Freshmen coming in at FL,GA and LSU don't make excuses and get it done. He didn't even see the practice field.No playing now No playing time when the new recruits come in.

99gator writes:

sometimes the best recruits are the ones you don't get.

this was down to florida and tennessee i believe and paige chose tennessee.

wonder what would have been at florida.

the house cleaning continues.

bowlinggreenvol writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Disagree completely. He is not a D1 receiver. He is doing whats best for him. It also helps the team because we can replace him with someone that might help. This happens all the time at big time programs and has nothing to do with Kiffin or Fulmer.

If anything it shows you how wrong the so called recruiting sites can be who rated this guy a 4 star receiver.

How is he not a D1 receiver? Did you ever see him catch a pass? NO, because Fulmer never put him on the field! The guy was here for two years one of which was a RS year! Yes, he's a quitter and possibly couldn't hack it, but don't accuse him of not being a quality receiver when he was never given a fair shot. Should've seen more of him, Hancock and Moore and a little less of Rogers and Briscoe!

cobbwebb writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Disagree completely. He is not a D1 receiver. He is doing whats best for him. It also helps the team because we can replace him with someone that might help. This happens all the time at big time programs and has nothing to do with Kiffin or Fulmer.

If anything it shows you how wrong the so called recruiting sites can be who rated this guy a 4 star receiver.

i disagree 100%! what if we replace him(paige) with someone worse! this thing was cute at first, now im just over it! is this goofball(kiffin) tryin' to buy himself a free year? i guarantee, during the course of next season, we will hear the words "well we did have a lot of key contributors transfer, or get the boot! that is a big factor in us losing games"! for the sake of our great program, i hope this staff knows what they are doing!

Volunatic writes:

If you look at who is left from that signing class, there's no way UT even had a top 50 recruiting year in 2007.
Okay, maybe top 50-- Eric Berry alone gets it that high.

panties4tebow writes:

Off the subject I know but we got a chance today to sit down with teblow today and ask him/her a few questions today regarding the tebow panties.

(Q) What is your thoughts on the tebow panties?

(A) Not happy at all, I wanted them to be called teblow.

(Q) Why panties instead of a jock called tebow?

(A) I prefer panties because that is what I have worn all my life.

(Q) How did you come up with the idea of tebow panties?

(A) Actually two guys named gator4 and dc gave me the idea, they where always begging me for the panties I wore during games

(Q) What do you think of the press it has brought to the school?

(A) I admit I was jealous because of all the great press the great University of Tennessee and their new great coach, Lane Kiffin, was receivng so I thought this would be a great way to swing some of the press to my school but it has backfired.

(Q) Are you concerned that people will laugh at you on away games this year because of the panties deal?

(A) I don't care I am glad to wear panties and will always wear panties the rest of my life

(Q) Are you concerned people might throw panties at you or that the students section of the opposing school might be waving panties at you during the games?

(A) Great, if they throw them at me I will collect them up and take them home with me to add to my collection, and if the students start waving them at me I will gladly show them the panties I am wearing and will wave back

cobbwebb writes:

this is ridiculous! this next season is a tryout for all involved, both coaches, and players alike! why let kids leave because of one spring! now the kids that are being lazy, or getting in trouble, sure cut em loose! half the kids that have left the program or are leaving have never even seen the field! hell, this should have been a make or break year for coleman, paige, creer etc...! if kiffin thinks he is gonna let these kids walk and just replace them with 5 star players next year, he is crazy! this is not the pac 10, this is the SEC where you may be fifth in the league in recruiting, but 7th nationally! the SEC is full of recruiters!

bigtimevol writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's not fast enough to catch a bounce pass.

cobbwebb writes:

dont give me this garbage about he couldnt run routes either! jerry freakin rice couldnt run routes , but his coaches taught him how! isnt that their job, to teach kids to be better at their weakness! you take a kid with 4.3 speed and teach him to run good routes, you take a kid who can run crisp routes, and teach him how to train himself to become faster! total garbage excuse! jmho!

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

all that don't mean a thing if your not smart enough to run the correct route.

cobbwebb writes:

thanks greer, for making my point!

springtx_vol writes:

in response to cobbwebb:

this is ridiculous! this next season is a tryout for all involved, both coaches, and players alike! why let kids leave because of one spring! now the kids that are being lazy, or getting in trouble, sure cut em loose! half the kids that have left the program or are leaving have never even seen the field! hell, this should have been a make or break year for coleman, paige, creer etc...! if kiffin thinks he is gonna let these kids walk and just replace them with 5 star players next year, he is crazy! this is not the pac 10, this is the SEC where you may be fifth in the league in recruiting, but 7th nationally! the SEC is full of recruiters!

Why is Kiffin crazy for thinking that he is going to get 5 star players next year? I think he has shown that that is exactly what he is going to do. Did anyone think he was going to get Brown?

Besides, any coaching staff would rather have a 3 or 4 star recruit that fits the system, wants to play for you, and is 100% committed to making things happen. Look at all of the problems T.O. has created in the NFL as a 5 star player.

Finally, ranked recruiting classes are only a part of the issue. The other part is developing the talent. If you go back over the years and look at the All-American teams, you always have players that are not 5 star recruits on them.

chaos001 writes:

i agree Book1. someone should fax this over to BJ Coleman and let him know the proper way to leave a program.

cobbwebb writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i agree duke! this thing is getting out of hand! coach has made his point, now make the players you have better!
by the way duke deluca, would be an awesome john wayne or clint eastwood movie name, i like it!

cobbwebb writes:

in response to springtx_vol:

Why is Kiffin crazy for thinking that he is going to get 5 star players next year? I think he has shown that that is exactly what he is going to do. Did anyone think he was going to get Brown?

Besides, any coaching staff would rather have a 3 or 4 star recruit that fits the system, wants to play for you, and is 100% committed to making things happen. Look at all of the problems T.O. has created in the NFL as a 5 star player.

Finally, ranked recruiting classes are only a part of the issue. The other part is developing the talent. If you go back over the years and look at the All-American teams, you always have players that are not 5 star recruits on them.

what im getting at is this, just like you said, make the players better, develope them! dont just shove them back to the back of the line, because they are not your players, or they have flaws! correct the flaws and coach em' up dangit!

belayvol writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

Say, here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing star again.
There I go, turn the Paige.

Bob Seger called. He wants his job back. Check down on Main Street.

cobbwebb writes:

let the weak leave! that is what they are saying! i bet when crompton is throwing balls to tyler maples, and he is dropping them next fall, everyone will be saying i wish we had ahmad paige!

bigtimevol writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, but YAC for Nuke will be the difference.

Ironcity writes:

in response to shoalcreekvol:

Careful! Those recruiting services are the ones who gave us pretty much the only thing we have to brag about these days...

Good point, but I haven't bragged about much of anything the last couple of years.

smokyredbone writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

185 bench,you could relace that with my little sister!

belayvol writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Good point, but I haven't bragged about much of anything the last couple of years.

Don't let your wife hear that or you will be in the dog house.

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