Update: Page to skip senior season, enter NFL DraftWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After three record-breaking seasons at Toledo, junior wide receiver Eric Page has decided to forgo his senior season 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 at this time, 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, 2007-11).
Toledo head coach Matt Campbell was unavailable for comment. The first-year head 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.
“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 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. Williams signed as a priority free agent following the 2010 Draft with Arizona, 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 it.”
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.