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Monday, May 4, 2009
Paige the latest to leave Tennessee's team

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Tennessee is now up to 10 players who've either left the program or been dismissed since Lane Kiffin was hired as coach on Dec. 1.

Sophomore receiver Ahmad Paige is the latest. He said Monday that he's already met with Kiffin and plans to transfer to another school. Paige didn't catch a pass last season and had failed to crack the Vols' receiving rotation.

Some degree of attrition is common any time a new staff takes over, and Paige probably won't be the last one to leave.

It's also a reminder how deceiving recruiting rankings can be. The Vols' 2007 signing class was rated No. 5 nationally by Scouts Inc., but Paige is the fifth signee from that class to leave the program prematurely.

He was pretty highly rated, too, as Tennessee beat out Southern California to get him. Running back Lennon Creer was also in that class along with offensive lineman Darris Sawtelle, defensive tackle Donald Langley and quarterback B.J. Coleman. All have departed in recent months.

And taking it a step further, one of the highest rated players in the 2007 class was junior college receiver Kenny O'Neal, who ended up being a huge bust and left the program following spring practice a year ago.

Defensively, one of the Vols' big-ticket items that year was linebacker Chris Donald, who was the No. 3 outside linebacker prospect in the country. But Donald has yet to make any impact to this point.