Listed at least a four-star recruit by every service and heavily recruited by defensive line coach Todd Bates, Payton Page is turning heads amongst top-tier competition early in his first spring at Clemson.
Tigers' head coach Dabo Swinney is unforgivably honest when delivering feedback on players, and Friday's post-practice media conference wasn't Swinney's first set of praise for the mid-year enrollee.
"(Page) is doing well. He's made good strides," Swinney said. "A high school kid coming in here. I love his toughness. I love his willingness to be coached, he's eager to learn, and he is a load."
The heaviest listed among all edge rushers and defensive tackles, Page weighs in at 315 pounds, with the next closest being redshirt freshman DeMonte Capehart at 305 and four others coming in at 300. Proper nutrition will be critical for Page to make sure he's healthily at 315 rather than the latter.
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Barring injury, Page won't find himself in the starting lineup with Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis playing 'at another level' according to Swinney. Still, Page could make his way towards a critical depth role in his first year with the ability to eat double teams and generate space for playmakers such as Bresee and Myles Murphy.
"(Page) has got a chance to be a special player as well," Swinney said. "He's got a lot to learn, but you know his natural ability, his get off, his push, his ability to create another line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped really makes him unique.
"Hard to find guys like that; he's got to have a big summer as far as becoming elite with his nutrition, getting his body where it needs to be for this level and the type of endurance he needs. But he's a great young talent."
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