Page Flourishes in Rocket Offense

Eric Page

Entering the 2009 season everyone expected UT senior wide receiver Stephen Williams to get his receptions. The question was who would step up and be another target for senior QB Aaron Opelt. After four games it is safe to say that question has been answered in a big way by someone that stands 5-10 and weighs around 160 pounds.

He might only be a true freshman that just turned 18 years old a few days ago, but Eric Page has not looked like it on the football field. The freshman slot receiver for the Rockets has been very impressive just four games into his collegiate career. He leads the team in receptions (26), receiving yards (433), and touchdown receptions (4 TD's).

He also has the longest reception of the season by any Rocket with a 70 yarder, and leads the team in receiving yards per game with 108.2 yards.

Page busted onto the scene in West Lafayette, IN on September 5th. He set a new school record for receptions by a freshman when he grabbed 12 passes against the Boilermaker defense. He had 128 yards receiving and a touchdown in the game. The touchdown was the first of a series of highlight film-worthy touchdowns by Page.

Against Colorado in game two he had just three catches, but they were for 138 yards and a touchdown. Again, the touchdown was a highlight reel in itself, and this time made ESPN's Top Plays of the Day.

Toledo's offense strugged in game three against Ohio State, but Eric Page was once again a bright spot with 6 receptions for 54 yards. Then last Saturday at FIU, Page broke out with 5 receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Once again in the FIU game, Page made the highlight reel with a touchdown reception that included some of the best moves seen by a Rocket wide receiver since Lance Moore.

Three 100-plus receiving performances through four games is pretty impressive. Especially when two of the three performances were against BCS schools.

What is even more impressive about Eric Page is that last year at this time he was not a receiver. He was the quarterback at Springfield High School in Holland, OH. A mobile quarterback that liked to run, Page rushed for 2,381 yards while passing for 1,102 yards. He earned Ohio Division II Co-Player of the year and 1st Team All-State honors.

"Eric may be the best player to come out of the Toledo area this year," said Toledo head coach Tim Beckman when introducing Page as part of the school's 2009 signing class. And so far, Page has lived up to that billing.

With MAC play starting this Saturday, Page looks to be one of the most dangerous offensive playmakers in the conference. Opposing defenses have to be concerned about what he can do, but they also know they cannot put all of their attention into Eric Page with Stephen Williams lining up at a wideout position and DaJuane Collins and Morgan Williams running the ball for the Rockets.

Coming into the season, Rocket fans thought that Lance Moore's record for receiving yards in a season could be in jeopardy. However, the thought was that a 6-5 senior wide receiver would be the one putting that record in jeopardy, not a 5-10 true freshman. That said, Page is on pace for 1,299 receiving yards. Lance Moore's record is 1,194 receiving yards during the 2003 season.

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