L.C. Bird (Chesterfield, VA) captured the Group AAA, Division 6 state championship in the 2012 season. 6’3″, 180-pound Shawn Payne , who verbally committed to Virginia Tech earlier this week, was the team’s “utility guy” according to Skyhawks head coach David Bedwell.
“As a freshman, he played real well on our JV football team,” Bedwell said, recalling Payne’s high school football career to date. “He has always been a tall kid, but we didn’t know what to expect. Our JV team doesn’t throw a lot, but he played a lot in the secondary and returned kicks and punts. [Payne’s junior season] is when he really came on the scene on the varsity level. Probably more than any other kid on our team last year, he really developed physically. He was taller, bigger, and stronger. He had a great year. He was our utility guy. He played cornerback, safety, wide receiver, a little tight end, and he returned punts and kicks. He took over at free safety when we moved [now Norfolk State incoming freshman Brandon Walker] to another position.”
Payne admits basketball was his primary sport entering high school. High school, however, “brought me into the football life,” he said. “I guess I was an underdog on the football field. Everybody didn’t know what I could do, but this past year I showed everybody what I could do.”
On June 2, Payne showed the Virginia Tech coaches what he could do on the gridiron.
“I averaged a 4.5-second 40 in the morning. I was one of the top runners in the 40. I don’t know what my shuttle was, but I think it was pretty good because the defensive backs coach came over and talked to me,” Payne said, recalling his performance at Virginia Tech’s one-day camp. “In the afternoon, I felt I could have done better but the coaches thought I did really...
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