His name is T. Boone Pickens.
“They’ll be exciting,” Pickens said this week, as he travelled through northeastern Louisiana to unveil a natural gas pumping station in Chatham, La. The 80-year-old energy tycoon has been on a campaign to raise awareness about America’s dependence on foreign oil.
“We’ve heard all about them,” Pickens said of Grambling, “and know they’re good.”
Grambling will arrive to a sparkling new 60,000-seat facility — thanks to Pickens, who donated $165 million to refurbish the Oklahoma State football stadium. That’s said to be the largest single donation to college athletics in U.S. history.
TURNING A NEW PAIGE?
Former Sterlington, La., standout Ahmad Paige is one of nearly a dozen players to have left since Lane Kiffin took over the Tennessee program — and a family member says he could be considering a transfer to Grambling.
Paige redshirted in 2007, but never worked into the receiver rotation last season. The 6-1, 177-pounder was originally recruited by Florida, Georgia, Alabama, USC, Miami and Florida State, as well.
“Playing time is part of it,” Paige said this week, “but I really just feel like I need a new start. … I’m sad it didn’t work out for me here, but I’m excited about getting a new start somewhere.”
The family member said Paige is evaluating his chances at a number of programs, including Southern Cal (though Paige reportedly isn’t sure if a scholarship would be offered), Duke, Auburn and Grambling — just down the road from his Louisiana hometown.
GSU apparently could use the influx of talent: No individual player could boast 50 catches in 2008, and the team’s top two wideouts — Nick Lewis and Kiare Thompson — didn’t have 1,000 yards combined. The now-departed Lewis, in fact, had the lowest total of receiving yards by a top performer at Grambling since Corey Caesar’s 539 yards in 1997.