Meet Football Verbal #3, Mitch Payne

Special teams is one-third of football, but so often the kicking game and recruiting kickers is overlooked. BYU, however, won't have that problem as it's received a verbal from the younger brother of current kicker Matt Payne. And, believe it or not, the best kicker in the family could be younger than those two...

The good news and bad news about kickers is you only need one good one.

Assuming injuries don't come into play, a program like BYU can get a young placekicker/punter like Matt Payne and know he'll be in the program for, hopefully, four years.

That shuts out other recruits oftentimes, but it does allow the coaches to worry about other things.

For BYU, the special teams coach(es) may not have to worry about having a solid kicker/punter for the next decade after getting a verbal the day of the Utah game from senior kicker Mitch Payne from Weber High in Ogden, Utah.

Payne, a tall 6-foot-3, 180 pound athlete who's also starred in soccer, basketball and volleyball, was recently selected 1st team all-state after making nine of 11 field goals under 48 yards. He also added kicks of 53 and 54 yards.

He even averaged 42 yards punting in, remarkably, only his second year of orgainzed football.

"I've played a lot of soccer," he told, " and had a lot of great coaching."

Part of that coaching has come from older brother, Matt, the sophomore kicker for BYU who was one of the few bright spots in the Cougar's recently ended season.

Comparing himself to his college siblin, the younger Payne says, "Matt's a lot more mechanically powerful. I can remember him scoring in soccer from over half the field and people weren't surprised.

I've had to fine-tune my technique and make sure everything runs smooth, but I feels it's coming together."

Mitch, who is also a standout in the classroom with a 4.00 GPA and No. 1 ranking in his class of 560, says he'll grayshirt in the the fall and then go on a mission in the winter.

"I'll try to leave in January, earlier than my Feb. 20 birthday," he says. "so I can come back and start school in the winter semester."

Mitch is one of nine Payne children, ralling in second to last. Amazingly, he says the final child, seventh grader Mason, could be the best kicker in the family.

"He's alrady 6-foot, 240 pounds and kicks stronger and more powerfully than Matt at that age."

If the baby of the family is anything like his older brothers, there's no doubt he'll end up at BYU.

The Payne family is only 90 minutes away from Provo and when asked what he likes about BYU, Mitch replies simply, "Everything."

Kickers are notoriously underrecruiting and probably because of his older brother being at BYU, few colleges contacted him. Air Force "probably seemed the most interested" other than BYU.

Payne, who will take his official visit in January, committed the day of the BYU loss. Although a guest of the Utah program, he was offered earlier in the week by BYU.

After the BYU loss, Mitch went into the Cougar lockerroom to find his brother. He bumped into Gary Crowton, and following NCAA guidelines, said to contact him later that day about the scholarship. When Payne did that, he heard the words he wanted to hear: he had an offer and the high school star immediately commmitted.

So who says nothing good came out of the Utah loss? It may have given BYU the piece of mind in the kicking game for many years to come.

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