Payton Drawing Major College Looks

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Beset by a series of injuries, Jay Payton played only two games for Battlefield High School’s (Haymarket, VA) varsity football squad his junior season in 2011.  A healthy Payton flourished as a senior at Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.), racking up 120 tackles and earning Co-Defensive MVP honors for his team and third-team all-WCAC honors for his play at outside linebacker/rush end.

“I didn’t face any injuries my senior year,” said Payton, whose full first name is Jacorien but he goes by Jay.  “Coach [Rick] Houchens gave me a choice of where I wanted to play.  The team was all freshmen and sophomores, so he gave me a leadership role.  I played outside linebacker, but then Coach Houchens felt the pass rush wasn’t as good.  We ran a 3-4 defense, but he put me at the end and I just got after the quarterback.”

Payton graduated from Carroll in the spring of 2013; however, he did not meet NCAA Clearinghouse standards, so he has enrolled at Atlanta Sports Academy (Atlanta, GA) for postgraduate work.  He began classes at ASA on May 27 and plans to be fully qualified by December with an eye towards enrolling in college in January of 2014.  With an impressive combination of size (6’2.5″, 235 pounds) and speed (ran a 4.57 in the 40 at ASA’s Spring Combine), Payton has caught the attention of major FBS programs.

Payton claims offers from North Carolina, Southern Illinois, and Wake Forest.  He visited the University of Virginia this past Wednesday along with Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, VA) standouts Greg Stroman (CB, class of 2014) and Tim Settle (DT, class of 2015).  Payton did not leave with an offer, but the Cavaliers are interested.

“They said they want to see if I pass the Clearinghouse,” Payton said.

Up next for Payton is a trip to Virginia Tech, which would be the clear frontrunner if an offer comes.

“I’m actually going to Virginia Tech’s one-day camp on July 13,” Payton said.  “I talked to Coach Wiles.  They want to see me run the 40.  I don’t have an offer from them yet, but they are my top school.”

Payton, whose family has resided in Northern Virginia for 13 years, discussed why he likes Virginia Tech.

“It’s a home-state school and I’ve just always liked their defense,” Payton said.  “The defense has always been great.  They