"It just meant so much to Olive Branch because we had never won a state championship," Payne said, when asked what the title means to him personally. "People from all over the community are always thanking me and it's just been pretty cool. I still think about it every day when Petal missed that field goal."
Payne and Olive Branch are looking to repeat.
"It's just motivated me to get there again and be the best player in Mississippi. I want to be the best. I want to get to the state championship one more time before I leave."
How is recruiting going?
"I;m not really talking to anyone, and I haven't received any offers. I'm just getting letters mostly from places like Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi State. I got a chance to go down to MSU and Alabama's junior days."
What stands out about State?
"It's nice over there. They have a real big jumbotron. It's nice, and I like how they work in the weight room and the drills they do. They have a nice campus."
What stood out the most about the Dogs during the trip?
"I like the weight room and how they work out. They work out hard and take weights real serious."
How did the Alabama trip go?
"There are a lot of good things about Alabama. Their campus is huge and the dorms their players stay in are really nice. They have tutors to help you in each class. They make sure you get your grades and help you when you get hurt. They tell you what to do to get well and give you protein shakes after you work out and things like that."
Alabama's training program stood out the most.
"I just like how they train you. Some schools don't get along with their trainers but everyone gets along at Alabama. They get their muscles back straight at Alabama."
Any other visits on tap?
"I'd like to check out Missouri, Florida, FSU and Georgia."
Missouri is joining the SEC next fall and it looks like it is making a concerted effort to recruit the area.
"I just like how they recruit you. I just have a feeling about Missouri. "I just like Missouri. I don't even know why, I just like them."
Mississippi State is closest to offering.
"I think MSU will be my first offer because they're sending me a lot of stuff to my house. I just think they're the closest to offering me."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org