RECRUITING: Does Paige Still Favor FSU?

The combination of the Gators’ high flying offense and the fact the Gators will probably have to replace four of their top wide receivers at the end of this season may have some of the top wide receiver recruits in the country re-thinking their choices. FSU commitment Ahmad Paige has suddenly decided he’s opening things up on the recruiting front and one of the schools he wants to look at is UF.

Paige’s senior stats aren’t much because teams are really all over him on the field and Sterlington (LA) has a run-first offense. Paige just does whatever he can to help his team win.

“I am doing well, but my stats aren’t really that great,” Paige said. “I only have two catches for 34 yards, but I do have a 98-yard kick return for a touchdown. I see a lot of double and triple teams, but coach is telling me it’s good to have that threat out there.”

The 6-2, 165-pound speed burner committed to Florida State at the beginning of the month, but he made it clear he was going to be looking elsewhere just to make sure he makes the right decision.

Right now there are six schools on his list: FSU, Florida, USC, Tennessee, Miami, and Georgia. He plans to give each of those schools a good, hard look before he makes his final choice. Florida might be getting a look very soon.

“I am going to take a visit to Florida and am trying to get down there to the Alabama game,” Paige said.

He has pursued talks with the Gators recently even after his commitment. He knows the Gators have a lot to offer a wide receiver with skills like his.

“Yesterday I talked to Coach (Billy) Gonzales,” Paige said. “We just talk about what it’s like at Florida and they need receivers to come in and play early because they are losing four receivers. He says they want me to come and play with the best quarterback in the nation. He is doing a great job of recruiting me. You can go all the way around the board about all the great players they are recruiting and have recruited like Percy Harvin.

“I can see that Florida is not afraid to put the freshmen receivers out there. I think if I came out there and there is Percy on one side of me and another big time player on the other side of me and getting the ball to everybody. If everyone makes plays with Tim Tebow and another great quarterback this year, I just think it would be fun.”

He is still committed to the Seminoles but he took time to talk about all the school son his list:

FLORIDA STATE: “I am standing good with them. I have to do some early evaluation and I can see their defense is great. They tell me I can help out on offense. I am just seeing what type of offense they are running and take it from there. I am still committed and I have seen all of their games except for the one against Troy.

TENNESSEE: “I talk a lot with the wide receiver coach there and I get along with him great. He is someone I could see playing for. He is a phenomenal guy and has been great to me. Basically I am going to give everyone an equal opportunity. I can’t really make my decision until I see them all. I want to get down there and see and evaluate for myself.”

USC: “I always just love their offense. It’s just amazing with their big play ability. They put up beau coups of points. They have a lot of fun and they win. Basically it is a program that is one of the best.”

MIAMI: “They just have a rich tradition. It’s a football factory that everyone looks at. There are a ton of players in the NFL that went to Miami and they look back at them and are proud of them.”

GEORGIA: “I like Coach (Mark) Richt. I like his playing style. I like Florida State, but what made me like Georgia was (Richt) was the offensive coordinator when Florida State was good on offense and they won. I like how he calls plays on offense. He’s in the SEC and everyone wants to play in the SEC, because it’s the best conference.”

I questioned Paige on where he was getting the information about Richt and his being the mastermind of the once high powered FSU attack.

“He isn’t selling me all of that, but other sources are saying that,” Paige said jokingly. “I just know he was there when the offense was clicking.”

Paige has the tools to play anywhere as a receiver. He could be a clutch slot receiver or maybe an outside burner. He likes to do it all.

“I can catch curls and shake a couple of guys or I can go deep and burn people,” he said. “I probably like catching the short ball, because everyone knows I can go deep and they are defending that. I just like to make a couple of moves and get out of there. I think I am versatile and hard to defend.”

The recruiters are coming hard after him and he will some day have to make a final decision. Paige still says FSU is where is planning to go, but could that really change?

“I don’t know,” he said. “There is a great chance I will stick with my commitment. I get along very well with the coaches and stuff at Florida State and I think it will take a lot to change my commitment from Florida State.”