Payne Talks FSU visit and Recruiting

Florida State hosted a few visitors earlier this week, and one of them was St. Thomas Aquinas standout Keion Payne. NoleDigest caught up with Payne to talk about his recruitment, as well as how the visit to FSU was. Was it enough to put the Seminoles at the top of Keion's list?

Keion Payne transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas recently from Dillard High. The 6' 168 pound defensive back has shown his worth over the past couple months as he was a standout at the Tampa 7-on-7. His combination of size, speed and long arms was tough for receivers to deal with. Since then his recruitment has picked up as several schools are showing interest in him. Over the past few days Payne has been on a tour of several top BCS programs in the south with teammate Lamarcus Joyner. So far the visits have been going well.

"We wanted to get out and see some of these schools, and I wanted to see the programs I am interested in," Payne said about the visits. "We're in Alabama now (Thursday PM) and we'll be going to Tennessee over the weekend for their spring game. Basically I wanted to check these schools out, take in what they have to offer, and chill."

Keion was at Florida State earlier this week, and he says the visit went extremely well. Between the facilities and the coaching staff Payne loved what he saw.

"I love FSU," Payne said, "and the visit was great. I talked to Coach Buckley and Coach Coley and we connected very well. They want me to come to camp to get a feel of what they are and what the defense offers me. I loved the facilities, and I don't think it'll get much better than that. Between the coaches and all I loved the visit very much and FSU in my number 1 (school)."

Payne holds a verbal offer from FSU at this time. The conversations he had with Coach Buckley and Coach Coley led Keion to believe an offer could come anytime down the road, either at camp or sometime during the season. If an official written offer does come his way, Payne said he'd make a decision pretty quickly.

"Coach Coley was telling me about the program and how they've always churned out great defensive backs," said Payne. "FSU produces superstars who go on to the league and have success. I feel that I can go there and get the coaching I need to get to that point. With Coach Buckley he was showing me some highlight film of him when he was younger. Man, he had so much swag; I really like that a lot. Playing for him would be great."

"FSU has only offered me verbally at this time, and they told me to wait it out because a written offer could come at any time," continued Payne. "I'd wait just a little bit if that offer comes but I am sure no one else can do as much as FSU. I'd keep it open for a little bit but I'd make a quick decision."

Recruiting has been picking up for Keion as he has 2 offers, and he says several other schools are showing him interest at this time.

"Ole Miss and Wake Forest are the 2 offers I have right now, but schools like Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Ohio State and Oregon are evaluating me and they have been telling me they want to see me at camp. Several of them have said an offer will come at camp once they see me in person," said Payne.

Keion told NoleDigest that he's looking for a bond with the coaching staff and a good atmosphere in the school he chooses.

"The biggest thing I am looking for in a school is the bond I have with the coaches and the fit it has for me as a person," stated Payne. "By that I mean how does the town fit me off the field? I want a good place for me as a player and a student. The place that I can excel in both places is where I want to go. Things like playing time will come because a school isn't going to offer you if they don't want you to play. If I redshirt that is fine. But the playing time will come, so that is why atmosphere and the coaches are the biggest factors for me."

A decision for Keion could come any time as he said he'll make a decision at any time. Right now he has a top 5, but that list could change as different programs offer him.

"Anything can happen with my decision so I don't have a set time frame," said Payne of when a decision could come. "I may wait until Signing Day if I have to, but basically I will make the decision when I am ready."

"Right now I have a top 5 of FSU, Ole Miss, Wake Forest, Ohio State and Georgia," said Payne. "FSU is the solid number one and the things they have to offer will be tough to top."

Payne had 33 tackles last year and 4 interceptions.

Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Keion as we track his recruitment, as well as the rest of the recruits from the 2010 recruiting class.

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