Being a mid-term high school graduate, Klein (Texas) Forrest cornerback Damian Payne (6-0, 185, 4.45) has a decision to make pretty quickly.
Will he be a Ute? A Razorback? Or will he give the Cowboys a last-minute chance to land him?
The Utah commit is on an official visit to the University of Arkansas this weekend and that could go a long way in where he ends up.
"It's the SEC," Payne said. "They are always going to play good football. As a whole I just like Arkansas. I've been liking Arkansas since I was little so it is like a dream being here."
Playing in the SEC would also keep it in the family.
"It is because my cousin plays at LSU – number 80 Terrance Tolliver," Payne said. "I just want to kind of get a chance to hold him because he doesn't think I am the truth or whatever. I just want to hold him and see what it is like going against some good wide receivers – guys that have speed and are big and everything."
Arkansas assistant Kirk Botkin is heading up Payne's recruitment.
"The recent weeks that I have gotten to know him, it has been pretty good," Payne said. "He is a cool guy, down to earth and tries to make you laugh with his corny jokes, but it's good."
He admits to being very impressed with his official visit to Utah while also taking officials to Arizona, Wake Forrest and an unofficial to Kansas.
"It (Utah) was just kind of different from the rest of my visits to colleges and I just developed a nice relationship with the coaches," Payne said. "Hopefully I can do that here. I wouldn't have no problem committing here."
Payne is schedule to take a visit to Oklahoma State next week, but that may not come about.
"It just depends on what happens here," Payne said with a smile.
Payne has nearly 20 total offers including Missouri, Stanford, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah, UTEP, North Texas, TCU, Houston and Baylor.
Payne took several senior-level courses as a junior in high school and needed just government and economics this semester to graduate early.
He is certain getting to a college early will help him in getting ready to contribute early.
"That's the whole purpose of graduating early so that I can get in and learn the plays and get to know my teammates," Payne said.
Although he is listed as a 4.45 guy in the 40-yard dash, Payne says he wants to get even faster to mesh that with his cover skills.
"I can always work on my speed," Payne said. "My coverage – my man-to-man coverage – I think is pretty good and obviously the colleges do. I always have room for improvement."
Arkansas is making a push to sign bigger cornerbacks to cover a bunch of tall SEC receivers.
"I think my height is an advantage to me," Payne said. "Holding the little guys, I think it might be a disadvantage, but hopefully I am playing that boundary corner going against a big physical receiver and stuff like that."
Bringing The Payne In
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