US ARMY: Gators in strong position for Paige

As one of the two standout wide receivers for the West squad so far this week, Ahmad Paige has been holding his own against some of the best defensive backs in the country. The five star wide receiver updates us on his commitment status, as well as his experiences in practice so far.

It was Ahmad Paige’s goal this week to come into practice and prove himself as one of the top wide receivers in the country. After day two of practices, he has begun to adjust himself to the speed of the defensive backs.

“You want to leave these practices and say you were prepared, but it’s tough,” Paige said. “I was just talking to Luther (Davis) about it. We were talking about how in high school you barely have to run and you beat those guys easily. Out here though, if you barely run on even one play, you’re going to look stupid. It’s a blast though.”

“The difference in speed is very drastic,” Paige said. “Yesterday I caught a slant after I had beaten the corner and right after the catch he was there to tackle me from behind. These corners have recovery speed like I’ve never faced. It’s competitive out at practice, but that’s how it should be.”

Just as Eric Berry has been getting praise on the Eastern squad, one name continues to come up from the Western defensive backfield. Paige said he enjoys going up against him, however.

“The best corner I faced was Donovan Warren,” Paige said. “They’re all tough out here. It brings out the best though. You don’t always win against these guys. You get some, then the next play they get some. It’s good because you learn more about yourself as a player.”

One of the things Paige is looking forward to is the national exposure. He is happy to have a chance to prove some of his doubters wrong, especially at a game the magnitude of the one in which he will be lining up at receiver.

“People who have ever doubted your ability as an elite player will be proven wrong,” Paige said. “You don’t have to prove yourself because you’ve already done that by getting here, but just the ability to show that you are one of the best players in the nation on national stage like this. There’s no bigger stage to play on at the high school level.

As far as his commitment to Florida State, Paige talks as if it were nonexistent. With comfort and relationship with his coaches at the top of his priority list, he understands that Florida State doesn’t have either of those characteristics for him right now.

“It’s really soft right now,” Paige said. “I don’t know much about what their offense is going to be like from here on. With so many offensive coaches gone from there, it’s just not appealing to me. They don’t have a receiver coach or an offensive coordinator right now, and that obviously doesn’t attract me. “It makes it hard because if I went there, I would be going into a program that I’d be unfamiliar with. Before this, I knew everyone but now I don’t know many on their coaching staff at all. It makes it harder to even consider Florida State, after guys like Coach Gonzales have been with me since March. That sense of comfort I have with coaches I know, you just can’t compare it.”

The Sterlington (La.) prospect knows what schools he continues to look at as well.

“Outside of Florida State, I’m still looking at Tennessee, USC, Florida,” Paige said.

With rumors of Paige’s interest in the Gators being very high, and even showing up in San Antonio with a Gator hat on Sunday, the interest seems to be mutual.

“Their offense is just what I’m looking for,” Paige said. “They get great players too. They had the #1 recruiting class last year, now they’re in the top 3 again. They have brought in so much talent and have a great staff to develop that talent.

“It’s everything about them. Now they’re getting better facilities. You’ve got to love a program like that. I wouldn’t say they’re my leader, but they’re definitely in the mix and have a good shot at me.”

Since Paige plays for the West team and all five current Gator commitments are on the East team, it does get somewhat difficult for the two sides to interact. However Paige says that he has developed a friendship with a certain Gator commitment, who has been recruiting at every possible instance.

“I’ve been talking to Brantley this week,” Paige said. “He and I have talked about why he chose Florida. They got Tebow last year, and they got Brantley and another good quarterback this year. That means a lot to me. That position is in good shape for the future.”

A benefit Paige has of playing on the West team is being able to play with rated #1 wide receiver in the nation, Terrance Toliver.

“Terrance is really, really good,” Paige said of his teammate for the week. “He does what he wants, whenever he wants. Just from practicing with him, I can tell he is a special player who I would love to play with in the future. If I go there (Florida), I’m definitely going to push him that way.”

With now just over a month until National Signing Day, Ahmad Paige will be constantly busy with visits for the next month.

“I’ll visit Florida on the weekend of the 19th or 26th UF, I just haven’t decided yet,” Paige said. “Then I still have to visit FSU and USC in January. It’s going to be a busy month for me.”

With work still left to me done about his decision, Paige isn’t quite sure of an exact date he will decide, but a Signing Day decision isn’t out of the question.

“I’ll decide towards the end of the process,” Paige said. “Maybe I’ll do it on signing day but ill decide at the end after my visits.”

Though the school he will attend is still up in the air, Paige has decided on the characteristics a school must possess.

“Overall, the ability to establish a coach and player relationship is very important to me,” Paige said. “It also depends on how I fit in their offensive system. I want to look at their program for my major too, which is physical therapy.”