Well-rounded Payne looking to enroll early

Americus-Sumter, GA athlete A.J. Payne has the ability to play on either side of the ball. Payne can play quarterback, running back, or in the defensive backfield. Saturday Payne visited one of the schools showing him interest.


Payne and his family were greeted at Georgia Tech by Coach Andy McCollum. Coach McCollum let Payne know that he was bigger than he thought he would be. Payne is now 6’1”-200. “He said he’d love to get me in his secondary.” A.J. was impressed by the family feel on his visit. “The fact that I have an aunt that lives in Atlanta is a plus too.”   

Following practice, A.J. and his family toured the facilities and talked about academics. “I told them I take my academics seriously and that was why I wanted to visit Tech.” A.J. hopes to major in one of the engineering fields. “Besides the football letters I’ve earned, I’ve also earned academic honors.”

The Georgia Tech staff will be traveling to Americus to see Payne at his spring practice. Payne let Coach McCollum know that he’d be returning to Tech for another visit. “I know for sure that I’ll be at the spring game on the 21st.  A summer visit is also planned by Payne.  

A.J talked to his family about the visit. He let them know that he would probably commit to Tech if he was offered. “I know how valuable a Tech degree is but I should probably still look at everything before making a decision.” A.J. plans to enroll early at the school he selects. He’ll take some college prep courses this summer that will put him in a position to enroll early. “My goal is to get to college as early as I can to start on my academic workload and participate in spring practice.”  

Army is the lone school that has offered Payne thus far. “The last few weeks schools have started to talk to me to let me know they’ll come down to Americus to watch our team practice.” Americus has had four different coaches the last four years and now the return of the coach that took them to the state title game has brought excitement back to the program.

Several other schools will be receiving visits from A.J. this spring. UAB and Marshall are scheduled to get visits. Payne has also been invited to visit Army, Navy, and the Air Force Academy this summer. “They know I’m a good option quarterback and that I can also play A Back.” 

Payne hopes to have a decision made by the end of the summer or sooner. Being able to go to an in-state school would be a plus for Payne. He’s also looking for a degree that will help him with life after football. “I also am looking for a school that feels like family.”

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