Offseason notes: T. Boone Pickens on Grambling; a Tennessee transfer?

Grambling will have at least one local fan eagerly waiting in Boone Pickens Stadium when they arrive at Oklahoma State with the World Famed Tiger Marching Band next football season.

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.

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.


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