Toledo's Page to leave early, enter NFL draft
By Zach Davis
Special to FOXSportsOhio.com
record-breaking seasons at Toledo, junior wide receiver Eric Page has decided
to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft.
“It’s always been my dream to play in the NFL and I think right now is a great
opportunity for me,” Page said. “This would have never been able to happen
without my teammates, coaches and my family.”
Page, who says he is projected to be drafted between the third and fifth rounds
of the NFL draft, will leave Toledo with 306 catches — just 43 behind NCAA
record-holder Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma, 2008-11). He also is tied for the
Mid-American Conference reception record with Jordan White (Western Michigan,
Page also had success as a kick returner where he earned Walter Camp
First-Team All American honors in 2010. That talent made him one of four
finalists for the Paul Hornung Award in 2011 given to the nation’s most
Toledo head coach Matt Campbell was unavailable for comment. The first-year coach
will have to replace 2,613 total yards of offense and 23 touchdowns between
Page and senior running back Adonis Thomas for next year’s roster. Bernard
Reedy will be the team’s top returning target after grabbing 40 catches for 758
yards and nine touchdowns in his sophomore campaign. He also earned Military
Bowl MVP honors.
“Eric was an outstanding player and role model for Toledo football,” said
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman, who coached Page all three years at UT. “I
wish him the best in the NFL.”
Page had intended upon staying with the team following the Rockets 42-41
victory over Air Force on Dec. 28 in the Military Bowl but his decision changed
as the Jan. 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft approached.
Among those who he spoke with about his decision was former Toledo receiver
Stephen Williams (2005-09), who has spent the last two seasons with the Arizona
Cardinals. Williams signed as a priority free agent following the 2010 draft,
picking the Cardinals over 14 other teams.
“I have been keeping in contact with Eric and I talked to him a bit earlier
today,” Williams said. “I told him if he thinks he’s ready and if he can live
with it being either the best decision or worst decision he’s made, then go for
Williams, who has nine catches for 101 yards in his two-year career, said he
fully intends to recommend the Cardinals get Page to join him in Arizona.
“One thing about Eric is he makes an impact,” Williams said. “He can play in
the NFL. There’s not a doubt in my mind. Now he has to prove himself all over
again. We know in college how talented he is. He has had a chip on his shoulder
and he will play in the NFL and compete.”
Page amassed 306 catches for 3,446 yards in his three seasons at Toledo, all of
which broke school records held by Williams. He also is tied for the career
touchdown mark with New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore at 25.
“I have had the best three years [in my] hometown and I want to thank everyone
for the support and believing in me,” Page said.