Jay Payton has never made a secret of his affinity for Virginia Tech. Tech’s standing with the standout linebacker prospect only strengthened this past weekend, when Payton attended the Hokies’ victory over ACC-rival North Carolina.
“Honestly, just the whole atmosphere was great. It was the first college game I’ve been to,” Payton said of his experience in Lane Stadium on Saturday. “Coming out of the tunnel, taking pictures, having people come up and talk to you… it was great. The fans know you by name. It’s a good feeling. It was a really good feeling for me because I’ve never had that kind of attention.”
Payton, a 6’2″, 235-pound prospect, is doing postgraduate work at Atlanta Sports Academy (Atlanta, GA). Georgia State has offered, but as of now Virginia Tech has not. Payton says, however, that Tech will have an offer for him if he takes care of his academics.
“Coach Torrian Gray, Coach Beamer, and Coach Foster told me as soon as I qualify I’ll have an offer,” he said. “I’ve basically said that if Virginia Tech offers that’s where I’m going.”
Showing off his speed and versatility, Payton has lined up at several spots on Atlanta Sports Academy’s postgraduate squad this season. This week he’ll play defensive end and outside linebacker, the latter being the position Tech is eyeing him to play on the major college level.
“I’m playing a big role on our defense,” Payton said. “I’m moving around a lot because I’m one of the best pass-rushers we have. I’ve gone from middle linebacker to outside linebacker to strong safety.”
While Payton is performing well on the gridiron, academics are definitely his primary focus. The semester comes to an end in mid-November, so he is obviously looking to finish strong in the classroom. He also plans to take two SATs and two ACTs in the coming weeks.
“Hopefully I’ll qualify before I take my official to Virginia Tech on the 16th of November,” Payton said. “I’m trying to get my grades right so I can be ready to be at Virginia Tech in January. I’m actually trying to get everything done with. I’m not trying to come back [to ASA] in January, but if I have to then I will.”
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