Payton makes #4 for Gators

The Florida Gators continue their roll through Jacksonville collecting their third commitment of four in the 2015 class from the city. First Coast High School receiver Tristan Payton talked to Will Muschamp Monday afternoon and committed to the head Gator.

We talked with Tristan Payton following his Junior Day visit and while he said he really liked his visit to Florida, he was laying a little low in just how much he did like the visit.

First Coach head coach Marty Lee said that both he and Florida wanted to make sure that the two were a match academically.

"He just wanted to make sure that he had the offer," Coach Lee said by phone on Monday after the commitment. "He knew it was a great school, he wanted to make sure when they saw his transcripts that everything was good. Didn't want to commit somewhere and then have them say academically he wasn't where they needed to be."

Lee said that the guidance department at First Coast got things going quickly on Monday and by Monday afternoon, Will Muschamp was ready to give the ‘go' sign.

"We sent all of his stuff down to let them know he was on track to graduate," Coach Lee said. "They were just doing their homework. Once they saw it, Coach Muschamp called and Tristan committed to the University of Florida. He is excited and is looking forward because it is a great school football wise and even a better school academically."

After talking at home with mom, Payton was ready for the phone call when it came today.

"I just had to think about it and pray," he said about whether Florida was the right place or not. "I put it in God's hands and talked to my parents. I just think it was the right thing to do."

Coach Lee says Payton has made a lot of himself after coming from a tough situation.

"He is a ‘yes sir, no sir', type of guy," he said of Payton. "He commands respect from other guys around him. When he says, ‘let's get going', they get going. Tristan is a verbal leader.

"He's a great kid that has come from a tough environment. He has learned to adjust and knows the future is very bright for him."

Payton acknowledges the tough background and says that inspired him to keep becoming a better player and person.

"I feel like I am a good leader as well," he said. "Not having my dad around, it was just me, my mom, and my little better. I just wanted to see my mom and little brother smile, so I just needed to do the right things. It kind of made me a leader."

Coach Lee had a son attend the University of Florida and knows all well what a degree from the school can do.

"If you get a degree at the University of Florida, it means something," Lee said. "The Gator Nation will take care of you. I am real excited for him.

Lee says that Payton is trying to graduate early to enroll in January. That would be ideal for the young star receiver who says, "the earlier the better".

As for his on the field exploits, Lee knows the Gators are going to get a great one.

"He's about 6-2.5 and 182 pounds," Coach Lee said. "He benches over 300 and squats close to 400. The kid is an unbelievable athlete. He's our backup quarterback… we put him in wildcat situations, he is an unreal athlete with the ball in his hands. He was right at a 4.5 (speed) last year and has increased that speed, I have no doubt."

Payton is looking forward to Florida's new pro-style spread offense and what he can do under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's tutelage.

"I should fit into the offense pretty good," he said. "I told Coach Muschamp it was my first year playing receiver and he smiled. He told me I would be something knowing that. I will probably play the slot or outside, I could play either."

As for what he plans to do when he arrives in Gainesville.

"I will take my leadership skills there," he said. "I plan on playing early, making the fans and the coaches happy."


Fightin Gators Top Stories