Payton In-Depth on Recruitment

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton committed to the Cal Bears at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but the departure of assistant coach Tosh Lupoi has shaken things up. Look inside for an exclusive Q&A with the talented wide receiver...

Question: First off, what was your reaction to the news that Cal defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi was leaving for Washington?

Jordan Payton: "Just seeing him at my house on Saturday night for an in-home visit and I didn't even expect it. He's been recruiting me for about three years now. It's just crazy."

Q: You recently committed to Cal at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. What were the main factors that went into your decision to commit to Cal?

Payton: "A big part of it was that I was so comfortable with Coach Lupoi and Coach Kiesau and the whole staff. I was in a great position to play there and then, I'm just hearing some other things that have to deal with that, too."

Q: Where do you currently stand in terms of your commitment and what impact does Lupoi's departure have on your recruitment?

Payton: "It's huge because everything I know about Cal came from Coach Lupoi. That's like my guy. It's hard. I'd say I'm still solid, I'm still committed. But I'm definitely going to look at Washington and UCLA, one of those and figure things out."

Q: What is it about UCLA and Washington that makes you want to look into them more?

Payton: "UCLA is right here, it's home. I think that I'm really comfortable with their staff because each one of those guys have recruited me from their individual schools that they were at before. So I know each one of them. And Coach Yarber, the new wide receivers coach, he coached my brother at Oregon State. I'm really comfortable with him, I've known him since 2000. So 12 years now.

"I have a couple of players up there (Washington) and I know a lot of the guys and it is a great school. Coach Lupoi is up there and I am comfortable with him and I know Coach Sark and all of them."

Q: Talk about your relationship with Coach Yarber.

Payton: "He coached my brother at Oregon State. I've talked to Yarber a couple times when he was at Tampa Bay and he just kept telling me that he wished me the best of luck throughout the recruiting process and then all of a sudden he gets the job at UCLA. So it's like, alright, we'll just see what happens."

Q: Cal currently has a very talented group of verbal commits. Do you think the staff can hold it together or do you expect some guys to open up their recruitment?

Payton: "We're trying to keep it together. I think that each person has to do what they have to do. If they feel that they're not comfortable with the situation at Cal then they have to go figure out where they're comfortable at. I think they're going to try to remain strong."

Q: Do you plan to take any more official visits?

Payton: "I'm just going to try to figure out if I'm going to take the last [official visit] then just this whole week is going to be big on my whole thing. I'm just going to have to keep thinking and sitting down and try to figure out what's best for me. If I should take the trip to Washington or UCLA, or what should I do."

Q: For someone like yourself, a highly sought after player, who has committed to two schools and has seen coaching shakeups at several of the schools that you have considered, how has the recruiting process been for you?

Payton: "Insane. I've probably seen everything that a recruit can possibly see. Times two. I've been recruited by Arizona State then that whole staff got fired, being recruited by UCLA then that staff gets fired, being recruited by SMU then Coach Klemm leaves. It's just crazy. It really is a crazy, crazy time. Fans tweeting you, cussing at you for committing to other schools. It's been fun and it's been sad and frustrating but it's an overall crazy process."

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