Payton moves past loss to enjoy Cal visit

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton enjoys his visit to California, despite losing previous night in CIF finals.

The circumstances were not ideal for Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton to take an official visit.

On Friday night, the Lions lost to cross-town rival Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake, 49-42, in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division finals, a game Payton described as "maybe the most important of my career."

On Saturday morning, he was on a plane to visit California.

"That was the most difficult part," Payton said. "I'm sure I was exhausted and cranky."

But the four-star prospect was able to eventually to enjoy his weekend in the Bay Area, taking in the Golden Bears' renovated facilities and spending time with the staff.

"It's an interesting place," he said. "The core guys have been in place for a long time and they are great coaches. The new stadium was phenomenal, it blew me away."

Payton was just one of the elite players on campus, along with his high school teammate cornerback Ishmael Adams and 7-on-7 teammate Bryce Treggs of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco.

After floating the idea of a "Cali 5," bringing together a collection of elite California players such as Adams, Treggs and Sacramento (Calif.) Grant safety Shaq Thompson in one place, Payton said it never came up in Berkeley.

"We didn't even address that," he said. "Whatever decision those guys come to, I'll respect it.

Payton has Cal, Notre Dame and Michigan as finalists, but does not have a firm timetable for when he will commit.

However, UCLA seems like a logical candidate to make a late push, having hired assistant coaches Adrian Klemm from SMU and Arizona State's Noel Mazzone and Steve Broussard, all three of whom recruited Payton at their previous schools.

Payton said he had yet to hear from new Bruins head coach Jim Mora or anyone else on the staff.

Asked when he might make an announcement, he said, "When I feel it in my heart.

"The sooner, the better," Payton added.

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