“I try to practice as if I’m third team,” Payne said. “I just take it as if nothing is given to me just because I’m listed as a first teamer. I still need to work as if I’m a fourth-teamer or a scout team guy.”
The 6-foot-1, 232-pound sophomore came to Georgia as a preferred walk-on after leading Prince Avenue in tackles for three straight seasons. Now he’s blocking for star tailback Nick Chubb and the Bulldogs deep stable of backs.
Senior Quayvon Hicks has 12 career starts, but Payne said running backs coach Thomas Brown said he got the nod because his work ethic “put me over the top.”
He thinks the fullback will be utilized “about the same,” under new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
His friends in Athens have reached out to him when they heard he was beginning camp No. 1.
“I got a lot of good text messages and calls,” Payne said.
Payne started against Georgia Tech last season and now will try hold onto his spot in the weeks ahead.