"I like Notre Dame a lot," Payton said. "I have family in Chicago, and a cousin that is a professor at Notre Dame. I haven't talked to them in about a week, or maybe a couple of weeks, but I've been in camp and very busy, and I haven't really talked to anybody much.
"I will hit them up in a few days and go from there. I still have a very high interest in Notre Dame."
Among the topics Payton plans to discuss when he talks to the Irish coaching staff is a date he can get a closer look at the program.
"I think I'm going to try and talk to them and try to get an official planned," he said. "I will be at Michigan-Notre Dame game (Sept. 10), but for Michigan official visit. I have to see when I can get to Notre Dame."
Another school on his official visit docket is Penn State, where he is scheduled to be Nov. 19 for a game against Nebraska.
"I'm considering a good group of schools; Penn State, Michigan, Cal, Texas A&M and Notre Dame," Payton said. "People think I'm ruling schools out, but I'm looking at a lot of schools."
Still, Payton admitted he does hold a pair of schools in higher regard than the others.
"I have two schools standing out and they are Cal and Michigan," he said. "It's just the coaches and how I get along with them, and the tradition at Michigan and the education at Cal. But I'm not ruling anyone out."
Certainly, Payton has learned the benefits of taking his time.
He committed to USC 18 months ago, but after NCAA sanctions and giving careful consideration to the process, he re-opened his recruitment, and he isn't sure when it will end. He is playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7, 2012, and playing the USA vs. The World all-star game on signing day, and both games would love for him to make a commitment that date.
"I haven't decided yet," Payton said. "It's going to be interesting. One is on signing day, so that would be an interesting time, and the other is in January."