"For the next four years, I'll be going to the University of Washington," Payton said.
Payton chose Cal at the US Army All-American game earlier this month, but when Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau took coaching jobs with Washington, he began to re-think his decision.
He chose the Huskies over offers from California, Arizona State, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Penn State among others and has been recently wooed by the likes of UCLA.
"What was crazy was that I never really looked at Washington before," he said. "When they left to go up to Washington I took my final official up there and I fell in love with everything. It was a tremendous experience to go up there, and I've just decided to spend the next three to four years at the University of Washington.
"It's tough when you have two guys that you're extremely close with leave for another college. After coach Lupoi and coach Kiesau left, I sat down with my family and re-evaluated things and came to the decision today."
Rumors are that Payton joined Shaquille Thompson last weekend on an unofficial visit to Montlake to firm up his decision.
Payton led his team this season with 61 receptions for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns.
According to Payton, there were three big reasons why he ultimately felt UW was the place for him. "First, the players and how they interacted with the coaches," he said. "That was extremely big for me to see and the relationship they all had with each other. The fan base - they are a great group of fans up there and they love Washington football. And third was the academics. I never knew how strong they were. When I got up there and they showed me all the alumni and who has gone through there and how strong they are compared to all the other schools, I just fell in love with it."
Dawgman.com plans to talk to Payton later today to get the full story on his commitment.
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